Walt, David, Chet & Harry

WalterCronkite2No, these four guys don’t own an ice cream chain.  Growing up these four guys informed a nation every night.  As much of the “worthy” news was gathered and delivered in thirty minutes; with fewer advertisements than we have today.

Trust was  built because we didn’t know these men.  If Chet was cheating on taxes or his wife we would never have known.  Walt was the solid voice because of his fatherly presence and deep voice (taking off his glasses for effect also helped.)  When Walt questioned the Vietnam War even the president said, “If Walter is against us…”  The man could say “Hi” to you and you’d bow in reverence.  Good television persona or an earned trust?  The latter.

Four guys crystallized world news and news they felt had an impact on our lives either now or soon.  News delivered with one steady camera, no graphics, certainly no laughing or mocking because it is the “news” after all and never belittling anyone because of an agenda.

We’d let the B/W TV warm up and for thirty minutes were captured by the day’s events.  Commentary, if provided, was crisp and clean with an extra effort toward balance of pending issues.  Eric was Walt’s key man.  NBC years ago tried Bill Moyer but it didn’t work.  ABC with Harry didn’t need commentary because he’s last name was “Reasoner,” he had “reason” in his name.

I think the nation survived well through their many years on the air.  We’re here because of them.  Robert and Jim were “over there” on PBS but that one was one hour and they talked too much.  (I was young, what can I say?)

Today with the internet, hundreds ferret out for us the news of the day for our digestion.  What are we digesting?  I have no idea.  A website instantly can tell us what “side” they’re on by their lead story.  Do we stick with a couple of sites we like because they’re “liberal” or do we seek out the opposing opposition because we like what they tell us?  The news is still wrapped because someone somewhere is composing and putting before us what he/she thinks we need to know.

I’ve lost a sense of what is “news” anymore.  A baby drowned by her mother down South is a tragedy but is that national news?  Hillary’s emails, as dumb as it sounds, is “news” because of her aspirations.

It’s not that I’m lazy but I miss the condescension of all the available news to be winnowed down to thirty minutes to help me understand the world both globally and nationally.

These four old guys did it for me and I miss them all..and they presented it seriously.  No laughing when reporting the news.

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About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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