The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Opinion

July 25, 2009

Larry Smith: Cronkite set standards for journalists

(Continued)



When President Lyndon Johnson heard that, he reportedly said if Cronkite thought that way, the administration had lost the support of middle America.

The real legacy Cronkite leaves for today’s journalists — including those of us here at the Commercial-News — is that facts stand up better than fluff. He wanted to see things for himself, to talk to the people involved and not be content with information filtered through public officials or public relations personnel. He believed people should be told what they needed to know, not just what they wanted to hear.

He wanted Americans to know the truth so they could make up their own minds. That can sometimes be a difficult task, but one we try to attain in every story. That will be Cronkite’s real contribution to his craft, that journalists never should stop digging for the facts.

Cronkite signed off every newscast with the same phrase, one that reassured viewers they were informed. “And that’s the way it is …”, he would say before he wished America a good evening.

We knew it would be a good evening, After all, Cronkite had just told us so.

Larry Smith is editor of the commercial-News. Contact him at lsmith@dancomnews.com.

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