At a time when we listen to the news of the world on our news feeds of choice, a time when we can pick and choose what “facts” we want to believe or deny, a time when, at any given hour of the day or night, we are bombarded with instant coverage, it’s incredibly comforting to remember newscasters like Edward R. Murrow.
Many people met Murrow during WWII when he delivered live radio reports from Europe.
From there, he continued to cover major, often controversial, events making news.
His serious demeanor and strong voice gave listeners confidence and the assurance that what they were hearing on the radio was truth.
Back in Morrow’s day, there were no alternate facts. There were no networks sensationalizing events in order to capture the most listeners.
Whether it was using recordings of Joseph McCarthy’s lies or delivering eye-witness accounts of German bombings in London, Murrow’s voice captivated radio listeners.
Murrow later turned to TV coverage, but those early radio broadcasts before started what we know as solid, factual news coverage. He and others like him created a trust, a bond with listeners who waited until the evening broadcasts to discover the goings-on in the world far away.
That’s the kind of news I was raised on. We waited until 6:00; then my grandparents sat beside their radio to listen to people like Edward R. Murrow. Later, my family waited until 6:00 to hear what Chet Huntley and David Brinkley and Walter Cronkite had to fill us in on.
So imagine my shock and horror one summer evening years later when, as I stood on a ladder, painting my house, radio playing on the back porch, I heard what my students would call an “angry rant” coming through the airwaves at news time.
That was my introduction to Rush Limbaugh and his biased, angry commentary over the radio. I couldn’t get off the ladder to change stations fast enough.
Since that day, of course, there have been other broadcasters like Limbaugh, people with angry rants to offer to both sides of every issue. Since that time, of course, those opinionated people have engulfed the airwaves. Their rants are everywhere, all the day and night time, and we flock to the ones we believe in to reinforce our own biases.
I miss the days of one or two trusted news broadcasters, people we all believed in as they related facts—not “fake news,” not instant news, but real news told without bias after a bit of time to evaluate.