I’m Just Saying – I remember when James Brown came out with Talking Loud and Saying Nothing in October of 1970, and everybody was dancing to the moves and grooves of the Godfather of Soul! Now it is 2016, and a lot of people vying for political office are Talking Loud and (Just Saying)…… Speaking of James Brown, not the singer, I’m talking about the ESPN sportscaster. Did you know that some have compared him to Walter Cronkite. I’m Just Saying – it is an interesting comparison. But I’m not sure the comparison can be made. Cronkite would perhaps be better compared to an institution; and that is where this argument will eventually land. Nonetheless, for the moment, let us reminisce upon that timeless montra, Talking Loud and Saying Nothing.
What I mean is that a lot of our politicians, and the political pundits who craft the political landscape that is presented to the public, are TALKING LOUD and just saying anything. Our newscasters and journalists no longer can be trusted to give us the truth, as they have been corrupted by a system that pays them to present half-truths and (in some cases) flat-out lies! Yes, the American media is bought and paid for by billionaires like Rupert Murdoch and Sheldon Adelson, and news personalities like Rush Limbaugh ($350 million), Bill O’Reilly ($70 million) and Matt Lauer ($60 million) are more concerned about the appearance of being politically correct than being truthfully right!
I’m just saying that news has become an infotainment industry where crime and sex drive the ratings, and, frankly, as an aspiring journalist/columnist, I am sickened by it all! This country has allowed the politics of division to polarize and paralyze our government and turn the citizenry against one another. We have totally forgotten what it is to be liberally minded!
Walter Cronkite used to end his broadcasts in the 60s and 70s with “and that’s the way it is,” and news viewers came away from the broadcast feeling confident and informed, and that they were being told the facts and nothing but the facts. In fact, Cronkite was widely accepted as the most trusted man in America all the way through to his retirement from the CBS Evening News in 1981. However, nowadays, I cannot find a true newsman or newswoman who is not handled by their station executives or owners and who are not following directed agendas. How did this happen? I will tell you how!
The American public, in the words of an American named Donald Trump, is just plain STUPID!! Tell them anything, keep Rubio repeating it and it will stick and resonate with many of them as though it was prophesied. Everyone who claims to be a Democrat, a Republican or whatever should revisit Cronkite’s interview with Ron Powers of the Chicago Sun-Times for Playboy in 1973 in which he defines being a liberal as follows: “I think being a liberal, in the true sense, is being non-doctrinaire, non-dogmatic, non-committed to a cause – but examining each case on its merits. Being left of center is another thing, it’s a political position. I think most newspapermen by definition have to be liberal; if they’re not liberal, by my definition of it, they can hardly be good newspapermen. If they are preordained dogmatists for a cause, then they can’t be very good journalists; that is if they carry it into their journalism.”
Since I consider myself an informed liberal, I am extremely excited about a new News vehicle, called “The News School,” that I will be writing for beginning in March of this year. With a “boldly inclusive” mantra for recruiting its writing body and an absolute vigor for concise and truthful reporting, get ready for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! I want to be able to hold the mantle of two of Cronkite’s best quotes against the writings that come from this News vehicle:
“In seeking the truth you have to get both sides of a story.”
“Our Job is to hold up the mirror – to tell and show the public what has happened.”
If The News School can hold fast to those simple ideas, News may once again be about REAL SPEAK, Real Talk, and real news, I’m just saying, perhaps, what Walter Cronkite might have concluded.
By James Cannon
Washingtonian: James Brown: Making Mama Proud