Walter Cronkite was a true journalist, a real TV anchor, and editor of his nightly news broadcast. So were many others, including Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. But that's not the case anymore.
An anchor was what the word implied: an anchor, anchored in a newsroom, sometimes in New York and other times in Washington, D.C. They relied on a network of reporters worldwide, who gathered the information, put it together for a piece of the airtime their anchor afforded to it.
A recent promotional spot aired by NBC (recent to me, it may have been aired many times before and I just didn't see it) the network referred to Lester Holt as their “NBC Nightly News” anchor.
That made me think about the structure of the broadcast news organizations today.
Lester Holt is not an anchor in the true sense of the term. I would bet he isn't even the editor-in-charge of the program's content. It shows how distorted and diluted the news has become overall.
There was a day when the news was presented through the anchor by reporters on the scene, without opinion or slant, and left up to the viewers to make up their own minds about the information they are getting.
It was a direct reflection of the guidelines of earlier newspapers: News presented “without fear or favor, bias or prejudice.”
Now I must admit the newspapers, even the largest of them, have been constantly violating those principles over the last decade. Even if the stories presented were on facts alone without the interjected opinions, quips and odd looks by the reporters, newspapers and television have slanted their coverage by omitting and ignoring covering some stories.
It is a sad day for dedicated journalists such as myself. Because, as a retired journalist, I see how stories or ignored, and others skewed to direct the readers/viewers opinions to a pre-determined judgment that may or may not be accurate or true.
If you don't believe me, record a television newscast, put all the words into writing. The, strike out all the “descriptive” and opinionated words that are not actual facts and see what you have left. The half-hour broadcast would be reduce to less than 10 minutes.
The rest is opinion terms, sometimes mostly uninformed and inaccurate predictions of what would happen next, and statements how good or bad people should feel about what happened.
Back to the original focus of this editorial.
Lester Holt is NOT a news anchor. He IS a corporate showboater. NBC flies him and a crew to the scene of a developing story they think will highlight point of view to be promoted later. Besides the fact that officials have to spend time and support (funded by your tax money of course) to a crew for TV coverage that could have been better spent taking care of the event, it appears to demonstrate to viewers that the network doesn't really believe their local level reporter cannot handle the coverage they are paid to do, or just plain showboating to the public to try to get higher viewer ratings which, in turn, of course, translates to getting more money for commercials.
Either way, officials should not be cooperating in providing and supporting a “glamorus production” of a broadcast by any network. They should give reporters the facts, of course, but not assisting in a production.
No, Lester Holt is NOT a new anchor. He IS a showboater. The true facts of the news are buried beneath the haze and sour smell of the show coating.
If the other news “anchors” and going on scene on the other networks, then they fit into the same category.
So, a word of advice to you: Do NOT believe everything you are hearing and seeing on the network news shows. It doesn't have the credibility of true factual news content anymore.