My father watched Walter Cronkite on the CBS News’ “Twentieth Century” broadcast back in the 1960s. It was a Sunday show; dad worked too late to watch the CBS Evening News that Cronkite also anchored.
I can’t remember my father ever talking about old Walt, who was kind of bland. William O’Reilly, Sr. preferred the more colorful Mike Wallace on “Nightbeat.”
Cronkite was a titan for CBS. When he retired 41 years ago, about 28 million Americans tuned in each weekday evening to watch his broadcast. The U.S. population back then was around 200 million.
Today, there are 330 million people in America but only 5 million watches the CBS Evening News. So what the deuce happened?
Many things. None of them are good for television news.
First, most electronic news organizations are frightened of the cancel culture. So, story selection and actual reporting are cautious – not bold and creative as they should be.
Producers and reporters well know they could be fired instantly – without any due process – should they do something that angers the progressive left. We’ve all seen false accusations and labels such as “racist”, “misogynist” and “homophobic” irresponsibly applied to public figures by “woke” fanatics.
The most important point is this: those who run corporate media agencies aren’t interested in fairness. They simply don’t want the “cancel” guns trained on them.
The result is dull news presentations and avoidance of important stories like inner-city gun violence, how drug addiction fuels social disorder, and the negative effects of President Biden’s open border policy.
Instead, we get the storm du jour, a rehash of whatever is hot on the net, and feature stories about how Aunt Emma still knits sweaters by hand in Duluth.
Cable News is also in decline because it is very repetitive and overwhelmingly ideological. Preaching to the choir will not attract a wide audience. In general, the predictability of the presentations is stupefying.
There are exceptions on the networks and on cable but my general assessment is accurate. I worked for CBS, ABC, and Fox News. I know what I’m talking about.
Recently, the New York Post, using anonymous sources, laced CBS News anchor Norah O’Donnell saying her salary has been cut in half – down to $3.8 million a year.
CBS denied Ms. O’Donnell is under pressure but she probably is.
The TV news industry is in trouble as revenue is diminishing. It’s going into Jurassic Park mode. The dinosaur era is still on display but a shadow of what it used to be.
Polling says the vast majority of Americans now get their news from largely undisciplined internet sites. That’s because woke pressure, ideology, and venal management have joined together to execute the golden TV news goose.
Norah should be grateful she’s still getting the $3.8 million.