Gone with the news!


Has anybody seen Walter, Peter and Tom?

The 1968 hit song Abraham, Martin and John laments the assassinations of Lincoln, King and the Kennedy brothers and was written by Dick Holler in the wake of the killings of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

The song begins with the yearning “Anyone here, see my old friend Abraham. Can you tell me where he’s gone?”  I was overcome with a similar sentiment flipping through the cable news channels the other night trying to find—are you ready for this—the news. I moved the buttons up and down over various time slots.  This is what that looks like in prime time beginning at 7:00 pm EST. (See table.)

There’s a few of these folks that I know nothing about.  But for the rest, they often lack comity, usually fail the impartiality test and almost always are strident with their own particular agenda. 

Honestly, I used to love watching the news. But there is almost nothing left that is bearable to watch—that will give you the news and leave you in peace to form your own opinions.  There are two guys that I believe are still more news driven than agenda driven. Mike Wallace of Fox and Wolf Blitzer of CNN.  I know some will take exception to the Wolf Blitzer categorization.  

But Blitzer always ask the tough questions and rarely participates in “gotcha” journalism.  He has a wide variety of viewpoints represented on his show and doesn’t berate his guests if he doesn’t like their answers, unlike say, Chris Matthews, who is prone talk over his interviewees.

I long for the days of Walter Cronkite, Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw. These were real newsmen that no doubt had their own views but did their best to leave them at home in the mornings.  These were people that were welcome in American homes every evening without any pause.  They covered our history day after day and put out the facts we needed to know.  

If they had something important to say at the end of the show, they would do it with modesty and in moderation. Because of that, and because it was infrequent, it was credible. The American people accepted it as such whether they agreed or not.

There were others: Harry Reasoner, Chet Huntley, Bernard Shaw, as examples. I miss these archetypal newsmen and the brand of news delivery they represented.

Has anybody seen our old friends Walter, Peter and Tom? “I just looked around and [they’re] gone…I thought I saw [them] walkin’ up over the hill with Abraham, Martin and John.”