Associated Press ‘Thought for Today’

10 Dec

In today’s Richmond Times Dispatch and syndicated in newspapers across the country in the ‘Today in History’ section comes this quote.

‘Journalists were never intended to be the cheerleaders of a society, the conductors of applause, the sycophants.  Tragically, that is ther assigned role in authoritarion societies, but not here–not yet.” – Chet Huntley

Chet Huntley was half of the Huntley-Brinkley Report, the NBC Nightly News of its day from 1956-1970.

A few questions:

1)  Why did Huntley add the …not here, not yet… part of that statement?  Did he already see where journalism was headed and how it was being packed with leftist ideologues?  Certainly Cronkite was already anti-war cheerleading, if you can call it that, over at CBS by the end of Huntley’s career.  Cronkite was definitely more liberal activist than straight reporter of the news.

2)  This probably doesn’t need to be asked because we already know the answer…  What would Huntley think of NBC and its MSNBC division? 

3)  Would NBC even give Huntley a microphone today?




Posted by on December 10, 2011 in politics


3 responses to “Associated Press ‘Thought for Today’

  1. Citizen Tom

    December 11, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    NBC might not give Huntley a microphone. However, Huntley’s notion of the objective journalist never truly existed. Because we each have our own point of view, we have a bias.

    We tend to forget that America is an experiment.The Founders had a carefully considered plan, but our form of government was, is, and, if we are lucky, will continue to be an experiment. That experimentation includes those how in the Fourth Estate operate.

    Early, in our nation’s history, journalists were highly partisan, and they made no secret of their biases. Because of his political preferences, Thomas Paine, for example, was attacked by the Federalist Party. Yet Paine never held political office. Instead, he helped to instigate the American Revolution by writting pamphlets.

    So where did this notion of journalistic objectivity come from. and suggests it started in the 1830’s. Apparently, the driver for this “objectivity” came from the profit motive rather than high ethical standards.

    What about recent history? Well, we have this thing called the FCC. Both radio and TV stations require licenses to operate. That gave our government the means to suppress “partisan” reporting. The Internet and cable reduced that influence considerably. In fact, with so many new sources, “objectivity” provides little commercial advantage. What I think news sources do now is seek a market niche.

    Anyway, there is nothing wrong with bias in the media. What a reporter should not do is deliberately leave things out and lead folks to believe he is objective when no such objectivity actually exists.

  2. John D'Oh

    December 12, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    A lack of objectivity is one thing, pretending to be objective when one is not is another. I think the public expects a certain amount of effort on the part of reporters to report not editorialize. No one faults them for being a human who will be flawed in reporting objectively, but they can be faulted for intentionally slanting news while pretending to be objective.

  3. Joe Westfall

    August 30, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Are the collective “Thoughts for Today” published in any type of book?


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