All the blubbering coming from broadcast news last night on the death of Walter Cronkite yesterday made me want to grab a barf bag and run away.
These talking twit-heads on TV are nothing but smoke and mirrors — not at all connected to the news business, but a shadow, a sham and shit-long-way from the professional profession Cronkite and his peers practiced just a few short years ago.
(Illustration found here).
In the mid-1970s, when I landed my first newspaper job at a daily in Alabama, journalism was at the pinnacle of its appeal — the Washington Post had greatly helped bring down a corrupt administration and newsrooms across the US were most-likely bustling with pride.
My cohorts and I knew we were doing a job that could make a difference.
J-school doesn’t really reveal the reality of journalism.
Upon entering that Alabama newsroom I was greeted by a band of misfits, weirdos, chain-smoking crazies and all kinds of strange and fascinating characters, all in pursuit of getting THE story out and making sure it was correct — I knew I was home.
When All the President’s Men was released in 1976, the pride of journalism sounded like the roar of a chattering IBM Selectric typewriter — I saw myself as Dustin Hoffman playing Carl Bernstein, as did probably a trillion other reporters around the world.
Newspaper work then was the work of self-esteem, albeit with low pay, long hours and a horrid fright of misspelling somebody’s name or screwing up a factoid.
When I re-entered journalism in the 1990s after a long absence, I was shocked.
I watched in horror as a wonderful little community newspaper was completly dismantled by a media corporation while editorial and advertising became joined at the hip, or maybe it was the lips.
Journalism now sucks greatly through a small straw.
Glenn Greenwald has a most-excellent post about the whole journalism/Cronkite bullshit here.
News work has been deep-sixed with a deep throat.