|September 11, 2009|
|Obama Nails it on Healthcare, Media|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|President Obama spoke eloquently about his vision for healthcare reform and the state of the media this week. Forget the uproar over the congressional slug from South Carolina who insulted the president. Joe Wilson will long be forgotten by the time Obama begins his second term. It's important to keep your eye on the big picture. |
Obama hit one out of the park last night. Don’t just take my word for it. The sophisticated readership of odwyerpr.com agrees. Twenty-two percent say the President socked a homer. Twenty-one percent say he slammed a double. Nineteen percent say he whiffed, but an equal amount believes Obama ripped a triple. The remaining 18 percent say Obama legged out a single.
The president also scored big on the speech front at the memorial for CBS anchor and newsman Walter Cronkite on Sept. 9. Coverage was lost in the run-up to his big healthcare talk. Here is a report based on the transcript that is posted on the White House site.
Walter Cronkite’s standard of “honesty, integrity and responsibility” is harder to find in today’s news media, said Obama.
The president called it a "difficult time" for journalism. Though the appetite for news is high, newsrooms are closing and serious journalists find themselves without a beat to cover.
Airtime is filled with "instant commentary and celebrity gossip" and softer news rather than the investigative journalism that Cronkite practiced. Public debate is cheapened and trust falters when the idea of "What happened today" is replaced by "Who won today." The downfall of hard news means the nation is not getting a real understanding of the world around it.
Cronkite understood the challenges faced by journalists, working for corporate media that faces pressure for profits. Cronkite knew corporate media outfits are obligated to pursue profits, but felt there also was an "obligation to invest a good chunk of that profit back into news and public affairs."
The president questioned whether a modern day Cronkite could flourish today.
"We find ourselves wondering how he would have covered the monumental stories of our time. In an era where the news that city hall is on fire can sweep around the world at the speed of the Internet, would he still have called to double-check? Would he have been able to cut through the murky noise of the blogs and the tweets and the sound bites to shine the bright light on substance? Would he still offer the perspective that we value? Would he have been able to remain a singular figure in an age of dwindling attention spans and omnipresent media?"
The president is bullish on the media because the American story continues.
"If we choose to live up to Walter's example, if we realize that the kind of journalism he embodied will not simply rekindle itself as part of a natural cycle, but will come alive only if we stand up and demand it and resolve to value it once again, then I'm convinced that the choice between profit and progress is a false one -- and that the golden days of journalism still lie ahead."
(Image via White House)
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