Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Walter Cronkite (revised, spelling corrected)

Walter Cronkite, the legendary American newsman, has died at age 92. He officially retired from "The CBS Evening News" in 1980. His distinguished career in television was played out in a different media world than the one we know /br /There were but three major television networks. There were no cable channels. Special effects were nonexistent on the news. Readers of the news did not have to have great good looks or big /br /Yes, it was still television. Stories were usually only two minutes long; they span class="blsp-spelling-corrected" id="SPELLING_ERROR_0"jumped/span from one to another; they were span class="blsp-spelling-corrected" id="SPELLING_ERROR_1"interrupted/span by commercials having no conceptual connection with the news--what Neil Postman called the "And now this..." sensibility that makes incoherence a way of media existence. Yet compared to the hyperactivity of contemporary television--which literally makes me span class="blsp-spelling-corrected" id="SPELLING_ERROR_2"nauseous/span wspan class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_3"hen/span I am accidentally exposed it terrors--television was rather calm, and Walter span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_4"span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_0"Cronkite/span/span possessed an avuncular gravitas. He was not histrionic; he was not an entertainer. Moreover, the language of the news was more thickly articulated; it had a richer vocabulary, and made more allusions to high culture. This is noted in Thomas span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_1"span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_0"Shachtman's/span/span book, a href=";s=booksamp;qid=1247893356amp;sr=8-1"emThe Inarticulate Society/em./a Language has suffered horribly since /br /In the evening of November 21, 1968, I was in my small bedroom watching the evening news by myself. I was eleven years old. Adults filled the living room and kitchen of our small rented house in Anchorage, Alaska, as they had all day; but I was alone. My eyes were red from span class="blsp-spelling-corrected" id="SPELLING_ERROR_2"weeping/span. Mr. Cspan class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_3"span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_1"ronkite/span/span ended the news that day by saying, "Labor leader, Harold span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_4"span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_2"Groothuis/span/span, and five others were killed at Point Barrow, Alaska today when their small plane crashed after take off." He may have also said, "They were part of government commission investigating claims of labor abuse among Alaska Native workers." That is true, but I do not remember if he mentioned it. (I was told my a reader of this blog that the videos are available. There is an abstract of the story on line, but it did not mention my father by name. I think the actual story did.) He looked a bit sad, and said, as he did at the end of every news broadcast, "And that's the way it is, November 21, 1968." I later told my Mom, "Mom, Walter span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_5"Cronkite/span mentioned Dad on TV." It was the first and last /br /In many ways, I miss Walter span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_6"Cronkite/span.div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src=''//div

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