by Corinne Wnek
Where is Walter Cronkite when you need him?
For those too young to recognize this name, Cronkite was an illustrious news hound who came into our living rooms every night about 7 p.m. to tell us what was going on in the world. He was a real news reporter who reported on real news. Of course there are still some creditable reporters out there today, but their stories too often reflect what seem like a slow day in the news room.
Let’s take one of my favorite topics, the British royal family and their new star, the lovely and now pregnant Kate Middleton. Within weeks after she and her prince left Westminster Abbey after the wedding of the century two and a half years ago, rumors began to surface almost daily about her ‘baby bump’. This ‘news’ was reported for almost two years. Wouldn’t someone have figured out that there was no news here since it only takes nine months to deliver a child? End of story.
The new ‘news’ concerning poor Kate is that she is now undergoing hypnotherapy to help combat a severe case of morning sickness resulting in a loss of weight. The idea here is that she, well, can’t stomach food. By undergoing hypnosis, Kate will have an assortment of healthy foods introduced to her through the power of suggestion, which would stir her appetite and help her to start eating for two. Interesting, but news?
My favorite ‘news’ widely reported this week concerns New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and has nothing to do with the size of soft drinks you could purchase in New York City. But size does figure in here. At a fundraising event hosted by several high profile politicians, it was widely reported that the Mayor was overheard commenting on the appearance of a possible female successor, Christine Quinn, who had just made her entrance at the fundraiser.
As Ms. Quinn worked the room of campaign cash cows, the grandfatherly mayor was heard to remark, “Look at the butt on her”. Only he didn’t say butt. I guess even a well- respected guy like Bloomberg can make an ass out of himself once in a while.
Serious newscasters, like the dinosaur Cronkite, used to tell it like it was so the average American was informed about national and world events. He really did his homework and earned the public’s trust because he knew his job was to get the real, newsworthy story out. Maybe it’s the whole array of technology that we have today like twitter, email and texting and twenty-four hours of cable news that makes the Walter Cronkites a part of media memorabilia. And the ratings war among these shows also contributes to public distrust of what they hear on the news.
Maybe it really isn’t about the news anymore but about news entertainment. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see serious journalists walk the red carpet one day offering to thank the Academy.
You were right all along, Walt. And that’s the way it is.