Growing up during the 1960s, there were two main sources of news: Walter Cronkite and the Huntley and Brinkley Report. Our family was a fan of Uncle Walter. We watched him as he sadly took us through the assassinations of President Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. We also celebrated with him when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. He was a man you could trust to get the facts.
The news has grown more convoluted and nasty every day. It’s hard to know who to trust anymore. For one thing, there’s so much of it. In addition to stalwarts CBS, NBC, and ABC, there are now a plethora of cable news channels.
CNN made its debut in 1980 and runs news 24/7. We watched the first Gulf War in front of our eyes in real time with Wolf Blitzer commenting as each bomb dropped. It’s now the premiere channel for breaking stories. And though, some may disagree, it focuses on facts and attempts to present both sides of the political spectrum.
Not all news channels are fact-based
Fox News arrived in 1996 after Roger Ailes left America’s Talking (which is now MSNBC) It was founded by Australian born American media mogul – billionaire Rupert Murdoch. He appointed Ailes as permanent CEO. The channel has been known for its controversial personalities like Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and the President’s favorite, Fox & Friends. Ailes resigned in disgrace, and Bill O’Reilly was fired because both were accused of sexual harassment.
According to Ranker, the top 10 most trusted newscasters in 2018 were:
- Wolf Blitzer – CNN
- Lester Holt – NBC
- Morley Safer – CBS – 60 Minutes
- Christiane Amanpour – CNN
- Lesley Stahl – CBS – 60 Minutes
- Shepard Smith – Fox News
- Scott Pelley – CBS
- Gayle King – CBS
- Robin Roberts – ABC
- Andrea Mitchell – MSNBC
It’s nice to see accomplished Baby Boomer women included. Shepard Smith left Fox News and is now on CNBC.
What to watch out for in your news sources
MarketWatch put together a chart that graphs news organizations in terms of how they swing left, right, are opinionated, or slip into propaganda. (shown in the red box)
Best bet: Go for neutral and factual
The most non-biased and fact-based news sources include Reuters, NPR, Christian Science Monitor, AP, Time, BBC, CBS, ABC, & PBS.
Another intriguing list to click on is the 10+ Independent Online News Sources And Why America Needs More of Them. They rate news sources for objectivity, bias, and talking heads. You may want to check out Reason, The Christian Science Monitor, Truthout, Reuters, Democracy Now!, ProPublica, The Center for Public Integrity, Reveal, AllSides, C-Span, Who, What, Why, The Intercept, Consortium News, Mint Press News, and Newsbud.
Is fluffy news as bad as fake news?
Local channels tend to water down the news even if it’s a compelling story. The average person is more interested in what is happening in their town, weather, & sports, rather than national politics.
Understandably, those stations are supported by local sponsors who don’t want controversy and may even be biased. The Sinclair Broadcast Group, for example, made their local news stations give the same speech to millions of viewers pushing their own bias that was called out by CNN.
What would Walter Cronkite say?
Uncle Walter is probably shouting uncharacteristic curse words as Huntley and Brinkley empty another bourbon bottle while they chain-smoke cigarettes.
Where do you get your news and what do you remember about Walter Cronkite? Please leave a comment below.