Jewish World Review June 9, 2003 / 9 Sivan, 5763
Cronkite comes out of the closet
A few weeks ago in this space, I criticized Walter Cronkite for
attacking the Bush administration over the war in Iraq. My analysis was that
the former CBS News anchorman was coming at it from an internationalist
point of view, putting the objectives and policies of foreign countries on
the same level as those of the USA. In this age of terror, when we are under
attack, that attitude just doesn't cut it. The government of the United
States must be proactive in protecting its citizens, and if the French don't
like it, they can go eat snails.
Well, guess what? Walter Cronkite has finally come clean. He's
not simply an internationalist, he's a liberal internationalist!
Speaking to The Washington Post last week, Cronkite said: "I
would call myself a liberal, but I hope I don't lose my ability to be
Uncle Walter has just signed a deal to write a syndicated
newspaper column and his first piece, this coming August, will explain why
he thinks most news reporters are liberals. Wow!
At age 86, Mr. Cronkite is finally laying it on the line. But
now, I have a few more problems with him. First of all, it is not a stretch
to think that Walter's political ideology influenced the story selection on
the CBS Evening News. I worked there and can tell you that the competition
to get on the air is intense. For every story that you see, 10 others don't
make the lineup. And Walter was a huge part of the selection process.
Secondly, I think journalists should strive to be independent
thinkers and reject ideological labels. The truth is that complicated
problems sometimes require solutions from the Right and sometimes from the
Left. Let the best solution win!
But if a powerful journalist sees the world through a liberal
prism, then he or she may be tempted to favor leftist positions. That's when
things go awry.
The editor of The Los Angeles Times, John S. Carroll, wrote an
interoffice memo to his subordinates last week ordering them to stop putting
a liberal spin on hard news stories. Carroll cited a front-page report on
alleged cancer dangers to women who undergo abortions. The story was skewed
left, and Carroll called his sub-editors on it.
We all know the terrible problems The New York Times is having
because it's editors imposed a politically correct atmosphere at the paper
that allowed a minority reporter, Jayson Blair, special treatment. That
biased philosophy led to the resignation of the two top editors of the Times
and is one of the biggest scandals in newspaper history.
In the face of those and other controversies, one wonders why
Walter Cronkite is defining himself as a liberal. He's experienced enough to
make judgments based on facts, logic and fairness, rather than a
philosophical outlook that is sometimes effective and sometimes not.
But the good news is that Cronkite, the poster boy for the elite
media, has finally come out of the closet so we can all get a clear look at
him. Gosh, Walter, it must have been really stuffy in there.
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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the
Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author
of the new book, "The No-Spin Zone: Confrontations with the Powerful and Famous in America" Comments by clicking here.
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© 2001 Creators Syndicate