I’ve decided that I really miss Walter Cronkite. I miss him the way I miss Sunday mornings as a kid, when Dad spread the newspaper out over the kitchen table and we got our crack at the various sections. We had to be careful not to touch our church clothes with our ink-stained hands or dunk the corner of the funnies into our Captain Crunch.
Come to think of it, I don’t remember my one brother reading the paper. He was too busy stuffing his hand down to the bottom of the cereal box for the prize or agitating one of us other kids. I should have known then he’d grow up to be a Republican.
I enjoyed newspapers so much that I grew up to become a newspaper reporter and editor – for a period of time, until I realized there was no future in it for me. Now I hate to say that I don’t subscribe to any newspapers because even the weekend editions would lie there at the end of my driveway, in their plastic bags until a Good Samaritan came and threw them in the recycling bin. That was wasteful spending – even this bleeding heart liberal could see that.
It’s sad that a lot of people don’t feel we have time to read the newspapers any more. I do try to make up for it by catching the most important news online, but I know I’m missing a lot. I believe this is why we have such an uninformed electorate. You just don’t find the depth stories online as you do in the newspapers, unless you go out of your way to find them. It was nice for a while when the New York Times online edition was totally free.
But pay? For information? That you can’t even hold in your hand? I’d feel like a narc – or a mobster.
So how can you blame those frustrating swing voters who can’t make up their minds on a presidential candidate yet? They probably are looking for unvarnished information and they’d like somebody to drop it into their lap, because digging takes time – otherwise they would have already done that. Lacking this direct statement of the facts and the votes and the projected outcomes of policy, the only information they get is from negative political ads, tale-spinning politicians, and the exploding heads on cable news.
This is a flaw of representative democracy. The people just don’t have enough time to keep their eye on the politicians and it doesn’t help that Uncle Walty is already dead and newspapers are struggling for readers.