Walter Cronkite

CNN’s 39th Anniversary: Changing The Face Of Journalism

Today is the 39th Anniversary of Cable News Network, the first cable news channel, started by Ted Turner in 1980.

It is now hard to recall that before CNN, and later MSNBC in 1996, and the infamous Fox News Channel, also in 1996, the face of electronic journalism was only CBS, NBC, and ABC.

This author and blogger grew up as a devoted fan of CBS and Walter Cronkite and the other great journalists of that channel, with sometimes focusing to a lesser extent on NBC and ABC.

One also recalls how Richard Nixon complained about the “constant barrage” of TV news nationally 22 minutes out of the 30 minute nightly newscast, which was actually only 11 minutes out of 15 before 1963.

Now, we are overwhelmed by so much electronic news on cable channels and the internet, but at the end CNN still stands out as a quality news organization.

CNN has made mistakes and blunders, but it has also educated us mightily in the past 39 years, and has been strengthened by a tyrant named Donald Trump who claims that channel and MSNBC, along with the three major networks are “fake news”. The constant attacks as well on the NY Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, the three best print papers in America, have only made educated people realize how significant all these and other news sources as well, are in keeping us free and informed.

It is the role of journalism to speak the truth, expose scandal, and insure our freedom and democracy, and they are working hard to overcome the greatest threat to America since World War II, far greater by comparison to that presented by Richard Nixon a half century ago.

No one is trying to give Richard Nixon a pass as a major threat historically, but the present “clear and present danger” of Donald Trump is an alarm bell warning us of the danger of infiltration by a foreign power which has always wished us ill since 1917, and now reconstituted in a different manner but no less dangerous than the old Soviet Union.

So to undermine our foreign policy and our loyalty to our allies in NATO, and in East Asia is a danger to the national security of America and to the world community at large, and CNN, MSNBC and others and the print media are working full time to keep Americans alert and informed.

So Happy 39th Birthday, CNN, and many more!

The Need For Strong Backing Of Journalism To Hold Trump’s “Feet To The Fire”!

It is urgent that all Americans realize the overwhelming importance of strong backing of major newspapers and magazines, as well as PBS, NPR, CNN and MSNBC to hold government leaders’ “feet to the fire”, to hold them accountable on government policy.

Donald Trump’s attack on the news media is an alarm bell in the night.

Without a free press, specifically print media and electronic media, our democracy can be taken away from us, and no journalist or media source can allow themselves to be intimidated, and must pursue the truth about government leaders and policies without fear of retribution.

If we lose freedom of the press, then our basic civil liberties are threatened, and that is why such organizations as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center and others like them, must be fully supported in fighting in court to prevent the loss of freedom in any form.

There are cynics about the news media, but such publications as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and major journals of opinion, both in print and online, must be vigilant and not allow themselves to be threatened, as they are the first line of defense for all Americans.

At the same time, CNN and MSNBC must work at being more accurate and less motivated for profit, as many Americans who do not read news online regularly, rely on them to do the job that we used to expect automatically from such media luminaries in the past, such as Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, and others, including Diane Rehm on NPR, who just retired, and will be greatly missed!

Dan Rather Memoir Worthy Reading For Anyone Who Is Journalism “Addict”!

Dan Rather, the former long term CBS News journalist, and anchor, who has spent nearly 50 years in the news business, has just published RATHER OUTSPOKEN, a revealing and stimulating book on his long news career.

Rather was a man of courage and conviction in the news business, and was one of the author’s most admired television journalists of the past, including also Walter Cronkite and Ted Koppel.

Rather made a lot of enemies over the years, and had particular challenges with the two Bush Presidencies, but the man never held back on his search for the truth, and he is still seen often on MSNBC as a guest, and has his own show on HDNet.

It is always good to see Dan Rather on television, and his book will reveal a great deal about the controversies he dealt with, and help us to understand this man who has had a great impact on television journalism!

The Nightmare Of The News Media Publicity Hounds: Refusal To Accept Trial By Jury!

The Casey Anthony trial is further proof of the reality that the news media has gone amuck, led by publicity hounds including Nancy Grace, Jane Velez, Geraldo Rivera, and others who saw no need for a trial by jury, since they were convinced that this woman was guilty without a trial, and in so doing, built up a fever pitch of anger that now threatens the peace of mind of not only Casey Anthony, but also her family members, the judge, jury, and lawyers in the case!

In the battle for ratings and the almighty dollar, these media disgraces set a horrible standard for journalism, and care not a bit about how they are making the lives of the participants in the trial a literal nightmare for now and the future!

Casey Anthony may have won the case in court, but in a sense, she is in a permanent prison WORSE than prison, the inability to have a “normal life” ever again, enough to imagine that someday she might, tragically, decide to take her own life to end the misery!

Even that would not satisfy Nancy Grace, Jane Velez, Geraldo Rivera and the others like them who have the nerve to call themselves “journalists”, rather than the trash that they are!

This is freedom of the press gone crazy, preventing an open minded attitude on the evidence and the facts in any trial, and it is the demise of serious journalism!

As Judge Belvin Perry, who presided over the trial, said, the age of responsible journalism, of Walter Cronkite, Douglas Edwards, and Peter Jennings and others, is over, and this is the tragic ending of journalism as a profession!

Why have a trial when one can have a lynch mob mentality fueled by ambition, ego, and material greed?

Why have a trial when trial by jury, with all its faults, is not respected by even those who are lawyers who make their living by exploiting public opinion, rather than practice their profession in court?

Sensationalism and irresponsibility and recklessness have become standard in American journalism, and made it a tragedy of our democracy, which desperately needs RESPONSIBLE journalism, and cannot expect it anymore in the present political climate in America!