I don’t want to cast stones from my glass house. But I wonder how our collective house might be rebuilt? Since none of us can go to war, how do we get back to trust? From the convulsions of the past two decades, beginning with Bill Clinton’s impeachment and followed by the Florida recount, 9/11 and war, and successive shocks of technological innovation, and now the events of 2020, can trust ever be reclaimed, especially for televised “news”?
Yes, but starting only from the recognition that a new birth has to occur, with new faces and production teams, new mission statements and, yes, new executives who are not themselves casualties of the combat of the past three decades. Rome is in ruins, but it can be rebuilt.
Go and find the young men and women who have fought wars across the globe for the past 20 years. They are in their 30s and 40s now, as Cronkite, Murrow and Rooney were when they began their on-air careers. Give them new teams of producers, writers and editors trained in the not-very-difficult techniques of television from places far away from Manhattan and the Beltway, Hollywood and Silicon Valley — the huge power centers of America — and charge them with reporting just the news: No opinions whatsoever mixed in, and instant discharge for intermingling with politics. A steel door reinforced with concrete and rebar should forbid the passage from politics to television screen. No more former congressional or White House staffers moving seamlessly to anchor chairs or analyst positions. Just the news, please, from people trained in the hard realities of the world.