Sunday, July 19, 2009

And That's The Way It Was...

CBS News honored legendary anchorman, Walter Cronkite, this evening with a primetime special. Several things occurred to me while watching the dedication he had to his country and the journalistic integrity that is sometimes lacking in news outlets across the board today. I'll first get out of the way how unfortunate it is that this will likely be the most attention his passing receives from any media outlet considering that the network he devoted 20 years to only managed to scrape together an hour long cliff note mish-mash of his contributions and influence. While incredibly moving, it was far too abridged. Whereas there are STILL regular trash and glory sessions dedicated to the king of pop.

I know there are only a few dissenters of my own opinions who stop by here. But I extend encouragement to those who have, rather sadly, expressed their shame, distaste and sometimes downright dislike for their native America to watch "That's The Way It Was: Remembering Walter Cronkite". We all choose to see the things we want to see in any news offered from any source. Our youthful nation has seen its fair share of mistakes with many more currently under way and many more still to come. Cronkite, however, had a way of bringing everyone together like not even the Presidents of the time could and certainly no one presently can. He earned our trust and respect.

The tribute collected his most memorable moments from devastating assassinations, to the equally highly emotional moon landing, to the live on-air phone call he took while the audience waited for him to relay that Lyndon Johnson had died. Various anchors spoke of their admiration of him and celebrity friends also shared beautiful memories of their personal time spent with him. Some who aren't necessarily my favorite on a personal level, but are brilliant actors, George Clooney and Robin Williams, spoke clearly from their hearts. It was touching to hear one of the members of The Grateful Dead still maintain surprise after all these years that Cronkite really enjoyed their music.

The only sour taste left in my mouth aside from the brevity of the salutation was President Obama's very prepared statement. Yeah yeah, you all already know I don't care for the man, but he makes it so easy to cringe every time his face appears or his mouth opens. Of course, to be a little bit fair, President Bush had the same effect of tv cringeworthiness, minus me wanting to roll my eyes, throw up, then smack him upside the head like Obama stirs up in me. Even President Clinton, who I happen to be somewhat partial to, did exactly as all others interviewed did: he spoke genuinely and from his heart. The king of the teleprompter once again delivered an uninspired, anesthetized statement which left me completely flat. Let's just say that the words themselves were not at fault.

All in all, I welled up with pride and gratitude and ultimately many tears for Walter Cronkite's unique authenticity in keeping the people of this great nation supplied with news they could trust.