Sunday, July 19, 2009

Walter Cronkite Saved My Life

How Newsman's Integrity & "You Are There" Quelled a Black Boy's Rage

When I first learned of Mr. Cronkite's illness a few weeks ago, I was deeply saddened. I prayed for his full recovery, but I guess God needed him in heaven to work closely with Edward R.. Murrow, Tim Russert and Peter Jennings on an uncorrupted version of “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. No one would be able to piece the story together better than a man that came to be known as “the most trusted man in America”.

I consider Mr. Cronkite my journalism mentor because of a 1970's Saturday morning program I watched called “You Are There”, which premiered on CBS. It was a series that brilliantly reenacted some of the most pivotal moments in American history, and it would behoove “the suits” over at CBS to revive the show for today's youth. He served as both host and tour guide for what became a mega-hit for the network. In my honest opinion, the show was a smash because Cronkite was at the helm. It probably would've sucked if they tried to do it with anyone else. The suits weren't stupid. They knew Mr. Cronkite wasn't just, as former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw described, “The Gold Standard” for news, he was a symbol of excellence and integrity in and out of the newsroom.

I also considered Mr. Cronkite my father. I know that may sound strange coming from someone of African-American decent, but when you contemplate the fact that a father is someone that encourages, enhances and enlightens you, which Mr. Cronkite had done for generations, he more than fit the description. Now, initially, I dreaded Saturday mornings. I did so because it was during those times I would often hear my mother being emotionally, mentally and physically abused by my father. At the tender age of 8-years-old, there was little I could do to stop the madness. All I could do was go into my mother's room and hug her after the assaults.

Whenever I watched You Are There, Mr. Cronkite's authoritative voice and presence helped me deal with the intense rage building within me. He was a much-needed distraction from all the turmoil, and he helped me learn fascinating aspects of American history and culture every week. Looking back, I now realize that I eagerly awaited my father's weekly arrival because he was confirmation that great men did exist and that they were capable of sharing themselves with those thirsting for not just knowledge, but love on some level. I connected with Mr. Cronkite, as did millions of viewers over the years, and the connection was immediate, long-term and life changing.

My father and mentor is gone, and the Mr. Cronkite's of today are virtually non-existent because we live in the age of “jackass journalism” and tabloid news. News outlets and their directors have been exposed as complete assholes after publishing bogus information posted by aspiring journalists or impostors on Wikipedia and other “source” websites. To make matters worse, members of the jackass journalism brigade, like conservative kiss-ass Armstrong Williams, continue to trade journalistic integrity for money, recognition and annual White House correspondent dinner invitations.

Unlike the days of Mr. Cronkite, integrity in news reporting today has taken a back seat to advertisers, control by major corporate entities and the quest for high ratings. The news icon often shared this fact with young journalism students. He informed them that integrity matters. He informed them that the story matters. In the process, he was attacked by some of today's most noted conservatives, but the fact is none of them will ever be fit to carry Mr. Cronkite's classic typewriter, let alone question anything he may have said. It's no secret that many of the arrogant and prissy “new jacks” in media viewed Mr. Cronkite as an old-school liberal or a dinosaur. Well, I'll say this to all those disrespectful morons. I would rather walk with a T-Rex instead of a jackass any day of the week!

Finally, I expect the liberal attacks against Mr. Cronkite to start once he's been laid to rest. I'm serving notice. If they do, “The G-Man” will be taking aim at everyone involved and using this blog to kick ass and take names. As a matter of fact, I'm throwing the first punch to let you know what you can expect if you attack my “father”.

You no-good, Brooks Brother suit-wearing, Colgate-smiling, corporate-controlled, 15-cans of hair spray-doused, weasel anchors of today are nothing more than whores that cannot be trusted to give the correct time of day, and public opinion polls have proved me right for the last 10 years. The greedy network owners and station managers aren't much better, and they'd probably steal the quarters off a dead man's eyes....and kick him if the quarters are rusted!

The days of Mr. Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow are gone. This is why there is such an outpouring of love in the wake of Mr. Cronkite's death. The country realizes that we've lost someone who was probably the greatest, most honest and compassionate journalist that ever lived. His finest moment was when he broke down on the air after President John F. Kennedy was killed. America needed to see that, and it is exactly what is missing from the current state of journalism: realism. Given who and what we're left with to represent mainstream news and media, which amounts to a bunch of whores and soulless drones, including Rupert Murdock and his ilk, Mr. Cronkite will be greatly and sincerely missed.

Photo date: February 28, 2006


Author: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Copyright: NASA (Public Domain)