Van Jones misses Walter Cronkite

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The world has become a very strange place when someone like Van Jones -- a certified left-liberal, a member of the progressive political movement that has spent decades denoucning the biases and unfair coverage of the mainstream media -- says he misses the old days when a few editors controlled what the public saw. From an oped he wrote in the NYTimes July 26:

Anyone with a laptop and a flip camera can engineer a fake info-virus and inject it into the body politic. Those with cable TV shows and axes to grind can concoct their own realities. The high standards and wise judgments of people like Walter Cronkite once acted as our national immune system, zapping scandal-mongers and quashing wild rumors. As a step toward further democratizing America, we shrunk those old gatekeepers — and ended up weakening democracy’s defenses.

Jones also wrote -- and I agree -- that the era of rampant character assassination by fraudulent bloggers will eventually end:

The worst of the partisans will get their comeuppance and become cautionary tales for others. Public leaders will learn to be more transparent. We will teach our children not to rush to judgment. Technology will evolve to better expose fakers.

But wow, when we start to miss the old CBS/ABC/NBC monopolies, things have gotten pretty bad. Or else we've finally started to realize that, in an era when anyone can be a mass-media publisher, credibility, standards and principles still matter.

 

Comments

Thanks Tim for brave and brief deconstruction of Van Jones nostalgia for Walter Cronkite, not to mention, since you forgot, perhaps, Van's further strangely misleading characterization of the racist, once a KKK member of the US Senate, Robert Byrd. Although Byrd in his waning days was critical of the Iraq War, he hardly was a peace and justice loving progressive -- and serving until the age of 92 in the US Senate certainly reminds us of why term limits were in Imperial Rome and necessary in the USA. Having been arrested with Van during the Rodney King protests in San Francisco, and sharing a jail cell with him and twenty-five other people that night at 850 Bryant, I choose to remember him when he was once a leftist, grassroots militant and not a Democrat back in the day. I still, however, am.

Posted by Guest Richard Marquez on Jul. 26, 2010 @ 10:37 pm

Thanks Tim for the brave and brief observation on Van Jones reinvention of Walter Cronkite. I recently saw Oliver Stone's documentary, "South of Border" and the Daniel Elllsberg documentary, "The Most Dangerous Man in America" and that young, stern and authoritative voice of Cronkite figured prominently in promoting the Vietnam War and government, corporate coverups for CBS.
Van's opinion piece was disturbingly ahistorical and sadly apologetic of America's ruling class. Moreover, in this same opinion piece, Van reinvents this former Klansman, Senator Robert Byrd, who served in the US Senate from 1959 to 2010, and recently died at the age of 92, as a segregationist transformed into a statesman. If anything, he was a poster boy for term limits and the abolition of white, male political and corporate sponsored privilege in America. I choose, however, to remember fondly the time Van and I, and twenty-five other protestors were arrested during the Rodney King protests in San Francisco and when we shared a basement tank cell at 850 Bryant. Van was a genuine, grassroots leftist and not a Democrat apologist. I'm still, however, an unapologetic socialist.

Posted by Guest Richard Marquez on Jul. 26, 2010 @ 10:55 pm