Like many journalists, he had become increasingly frustrated with the shallow, and sometimes mean-spirited coverage presented as news these days. There are many excellent anchors and reporters at both the national and local levels, but I don't believe there will ever be another Walter Cronkite.
Cronkite was special for many reasons. He was polished, professional, a terrific performer, and a great reporter who did more than read what other people wrote for him. However, he also benefitted from having much less competition than today's news anchors. During his career, Cronkite's competition was primarily NBC and ABC. These days, even his audience would have shrunk significantly due to competion that includes CNN, MSNBC, FOX and many other outlets.
So, who does America respect as the possible heir to Cronkite's seat as "the most trusted" newscaster?"
A new Time magazine poll suggests that it's comedian Jon Stewart, host of the hilarious Daily Show on Comedy Central. Stewart's comedy is biting and direct. Journalism is a frequest target of his commentaries and the stories of his comedian/corresponents.
As a longtime reporter, it makes me uncomfortable watching my profession get pummeled on television. Some of the criticism is unfair. However, I agree with most of it.
I don't consider Stewart a newsperson, but it is noteworthy that he received Peabody awards for his "irreverent and inventive" Indecision election coverage in 2000 and 2004, a remarkable accomplishment. Stewart is one of the great news analysts of our time, but no one should watch his show instead of traditional news. However, it's a compelling and thought-provoking companion to traditional journalism.
It's a great compliment to Stewart that he is so well-respected.
It's also a well-deserved insult to the news business.
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