The Death of the Daily Paper

March 2011By Cal Samra

Cal Samra worked as a reporter for the Associated Press and several newspapers, including The Newark Evening News (New Jersey), The Flint Journal (Michigan), and The Ann Arbor News, where he was also a columnist. He and his wife, Rose, have for the past twenty-five years been the editors and publishers of The Joyful Noiseletter, an award-winning Christian humor newsletter (PO Box 895, Portage MI 49081-0895; www.JoyfulNoiseletter.com). They are also the authors of ten humor/cartoon books that have sold over a million copies. This article is adapted from an address Mr. Samra gave to the Conference on the Future of Michigan Newspapers and Society, held at Western Michigan Uni­versity’s Fetzer Center on March 27, 2010.

My all-time favorite journalist was Will Rogers, the great American humorist who was loved by both liberals and conservatives. This grinning, rope-spinning, Cherokee-American cowboy kept our nation laughing through the depths of the Great Depression. President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Will Rogers held the secret of banishing gloom, of making tears give way to laughter, of supplanting desolation and despair with hope and courage.”

Rogers once wrote in his newspaper column: “I’m fond of the candidate for public office who, during a fierce campaign, penned this note to his opponent: ‘Dear Sir: Let us make a deal — if you promise to stop telling lies about me, I will promise to stop telling the truth about you.’” Rogers poked fun at everybody, especially politicians of both parties, but he never attacked or slandered anybody for political or personal reasons. He was unfailingly courteous to everyone he met.

When he died in 1935 the entire nation mourned. A couple hundred thousand people showed up at his funeral, and a Protestant minister, a Catholic priest, and a Jewish rabbi offered prayers. What journalist today would get that kind of turnout?

Will Rogers had a loving heart. He was fair-minded. He had credibility with the American people. Americans of all political, philosophical, and religious persuasions believed Will Rogers.

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Anyone who doubts Cronkite's Communist and Christianity abolisionist moorings, please read on. And that certainly means you, Mr. Samra! (Thank you, bveritas, for you above rebuttal to the author. I'm also tired of NOR editors letting previously published writers ramble on for pages defending their own articles! Now that's real journalism on the part of both parties. Grow up guys! You had your say. Now let others speak.)

“Walter Cronkite’s feminine side”
by Marshall R. Goodman

The death of Walter Cronkite brought so much adulation from his comrades in the media that one could readily conclude they had something to hide. Among many politically correct issues, Walter was in touch with his feminine side, and feminism was among the cultural issues he helped to incubate, including a contempt for the U.S. military that rivaled the disdain radical socialist and U.S. Congresswoman Patricia “Tailhook” Schroeder displayed.

Cronkite (a/k/a “the most trusted man in America”) proudly displayed his name with Jane Fonda on the back dust cover of Gloria Steinem’s "Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions" (Holt Rinehart Winston 1983). Cronkite’s quote is right beneath Fonda’s quote and precedes one from PBS’s Bill Moyers. This was in the days when Cronkite was still an upfront and objective journalist. Or so we are told by such esteemed and unimpeachable sources as Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.

Cronkite’s endorsement states: “For those of us who have long admired Gloria Steinem’s reportorial and writing skills, there has been concern that this side of her persona had taken a back seat to her activism as a feminist. Now we have proof that nothing has been lost, for she has combined her talents and her advocacy here in what must be the definitive philosophical and historical work about this movement that, belatedly, has transformed our society.”

Some might say Cronkite is free to endorse as he chooses; however, Leftists have a well-worn phrase about even the appearance of an impropriety. In Cronkite’s case, though, impropriety went beyond mere appearance. The Nation, a Marxist-oriented journal, wrote in July 10, 2000, on the death of former Nation editor (1976 through 1978) Blair Clark. “Whether it was calling on Philip Roth to recommend a Nation literary editor or persuading CBS News president Richard Salant to make Walter Cronkite anchor of CBS Evening News, Blair had a gift for the recognition and recruitment of excellence.”

In 1999, Cronkite accepted the U.N.’s Norman Cousins Global Governance Award from the World Federalists Association, telling those assembled (including Hillary Clinton) that the first step toward one-world government – his personal dream – was to strengthen the United Nations. “To do that, of course, we Americans will have to yield up some of our sovereignty. That would be a bitter pill.” Cronkite also said that evangelist Pat Robertson wrote of a one-world government – when the Messiah arrives, and that other attempts would be the devil’s work. “Well, join me,” Cronkite quipped. “I’m glad to sit here at the right hand of Satan.” [1]

In the 1974 book, TV and National Defense, Dr. Ernest Lefever examined how CBS News programs (of which Cronkite’s evening news broadcasts were a large part) had covered national security issues for two years and concluded that the news organization was “an active advocate of several national defense positions which were frequently critical of U.S. policy, and usually from a perspective that implied or called for a lesser military commitment and lower defense expenditures.” In 1972, for instance, the CBS Evening News aired nearly 1,400 presentations supporting the dovish view. Contrary or hawkish positions were aired only 79 times. [2]

Of course, all this might seem like water under the bridge or ill-timed derision of the deceased. Yet to those who are among the increasing numbers of walking wounded, the imprisoned and the impoverished in the culture wars, we see a much more sinister side to good ol’ Wally’s lies and libel. The dark, sinister forces of yesteryear’s are today regrouping under the guise of tolerance, liberty and equality.

“Well versed in the techniques of propaganda, the Nazis realized early on the importance of controlling the media,” wrote F. Douglas Kneibert in a column on historic parallel to persecution. “The infamous Nazi book-burning episode in 1933 sent a clear message that only approved books would be allowed in Germany. Jewish journalists were hounded, and Jews were prohibited from editing newspapers. In a short period of time, all media outlets, including the theater and motion pictures, were brought under the thumb of Joseph Goebbel’s Ministry of Propaganda and National Enlightenment.” [3]
Goebbel would have proudly approved.

Marshall R. Goodman is the author of Karla Marx: How feminism has seduced the West (ISBN 978-0-557-00296-2) and a frequent commentator on political social issues.

1. “Meet the real Walter Cronkite: ‘Most trusted’ newsman pushed radical agenda,” Joseph Farah, July 18, 2009, WorldNetDaily.
2. The Terrible Truth About Walter Cronkite, AIM Column, Cliff Kincaid, July 20, 2009.
3. “Are the Dark Clouds of Persecution Beginning to Gather?” F. Douglas Kneibert, New Oxford Review, July-August 2009, p. 38

Posted by: j17ghs
June 05, 2011 02:08 PM EDT
"...It amazes me that Americans have let these national treasures die out without a public outcry. Is it because so many people have lost confidence in their credibility and don’t care anymore?..."
Does anyone read an article without (if they are really interested) checking out several other sources? Yes, today's major newspapers are biased toward a liberal, Politically correct bent and in particular, the democrat party. The reality really hit home in the 08 presidential election. I read books on Obama by Freddoso and others, heard about Rev Wright and Bill Ayers and yet the media refused to investigate (or at least report) and continued a biased one sided campaign for then Sen Obama against the Clintons and against the republicans - even to the point of mounting a disgusting, smearing attack on the republican VP candidate. It is no wonder that no one read papers like the NY Times or Wash Post, LA times, Boston Globe et al. They are, from the standpoint of national news, a waste of time and insulting to an informed reader.
From the Catholic point of view, no paper challenged the democrat party's stand on abortion, same sex marriage, the conscience clause etc when senators or so-called catholic organizations supported these issues and Obamacare even though they are antithetical to Catholic Teachings. When the priest scandal hit (and even today) the Church was covered sometimes fairly sometimes unfairly but the problem was never put in the context of the overall national problem (e.g. problems among protestant ministers or public school teachers). So if the newspaper's mission is to inform, they do not do so. They do not cover what the unsaid consequences of a democrat admin policy is, only that it is given in a good light and critics are criticized. So much for today's journalism. At least, on the internet you can reach multiple sources and then decide for yourself. For the lazy populace, they will be duped by the main stream media, perhaps to the destruction of America.
Posted by: awunsch
March 09, 2011 03:45 PM EST
Mr. Samra employs too much of the "both sides do it" view, and this is one of the many tactics that has brought about the current sorry global state of, not only media, but academia and politics. The socialist TV show,"60 Minutes," once had a Point-Counerpoint segment at the show's end and read viewers letters. Now they read nothing and acknowledge no dissent and instead let Andy Rooney (who seems like an atheist, in my opinion) ramble on in the place of discourse.

And Walter Cronkite? Please, Mr. Samra! This guy is held up as trustworthy and honorable and as the quintessential objective reporter only because he was a closet Communist. Please do your research on Cronkite; otherwise you will continue to appear as either an operative or as duped.
Posted by: j17ghs
March 14, 2011 03:32 PM EDT
the turn to internet and television was borne by fear. conservative individuals have had their worldview violated for so long by the liberal stranglehold on the news that when counterpoint was argued by such as fox, we ran to it.
the newspapers committed (jounalistic) suicide. the "news" was slanted for effect.
remember abraham lincoln's admonition: "you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all of the time."
just let me pick the pictures of the president the papers run, and he would soon be out of office.
Posted by: hellkat
April 29, 2011 09:42 AM EDT
Without any display of irony, your response to my letter in the May issue provides an argument that refutes one of the assumptions of your article and supports one of my points. Your article raised the issue of a liberal conservative political spectrum as a legitimate idea, not me. Nonetheless, it is not wrong to examine the ideas people express in accord with their own self-identification. The very notion of a political spectrum is a very cynical idea unique to those who identify themselves as liberals. The defining principles of those who identify themselves as conservative are the ideas that the human condition is divinely endowed, that all human ideology is evil, and that people are to be judged by character, not social or intellectual status.

Despite all your enthusiasm for Will Rogers who expressed a giddy enthusiasm for Hitler and Mussolini, it is undeniable that ideas people express have consequences and principles they proclaim have meaning. If one group of people advocate an episode of mass murder and another group of people oppose it, it is not more reasonable to adopt a “middle position” of allowing half the number to be killed.

Obviously Jesus did not use the contemporary words of liberal and conservative, but Jesus did distinguish between moral truth and moral sophistry, between natural law and moral relativism, and between a proper regard for the nature and origin of human rights and human dignity and the cynical abuses of cultural determinism.

Unless one is as ignorant as a mainstream journalist, there is an undeniable distinction between which side of the contemporary political debate expresses respect and support for Christian ethics and metaphysical truths, and it is not the side who identify themselves as liberal, whose ideological presuppositions are historically rooted in religion hatred.

The abject lack of integrity and general ignorance by the anti-Christian bigots who dominate mainstream media have pretty much controlled how conservatives and Christians are perceived by those who never exercised the honorability to listen to them before dismissing them.

When anti-Catholic bigot Walter Cronkite openly mocked opposition to abortion as “a Catholic hang-up,” in what passed for his “journalism,” he was acting in accord with the religion hating biases of elitist culture that has always dominated media interpretations of human events, and Cronkite never received the slightest rebuke. When the New York Times covered up the greatest episode of mass murder in human history, the murder of thirty million Ukrainians, their reporter, Will Durant, received a Pulitzer Prize. (to this day the figure is still misreported as ten million) Religious individuals have been subject to the hatred and biases of mainstream media for decades. We seldom have a religious person depicted as anything other than a degenerate, lunatic, or simpleton. Even popes, while sometimes portrayed as benign in their intentions, are seen as simplistic in their proscriptions articulated in books most reporters will never actually read.

Now we thankfully have many alternatives to their general ignorance and strident religion hatred. Many of the conservative voices you insult regularly remind their audience of the inherently religious and rational nature of America's founding principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence: a respect for innate truth, natural law, and recognition that all rights are divine endowments, not political inventions. These are ideas that can be approached either rationally or religiously, but are understandably elusive to a media whose membership majority, through their own internal surveys, identify themselves as atheists, and among those few who are non-atheists, fewer than one in ten attend weekly worship services.

The dominant historical narrative provided by a militantly secularized media is that of a secularized America. It is as cynical and ignorant as modern academia, and tends to react hysterically towards the mere exercise of a religious perspective in public as an “imposition” or somehow unconstitutional. It is an ignorance so pervasive, it even penetrates science reporting. Some print media might be better, but as one with degrees in science, I've never observed broadcast media to report a single scientific study with any serious level of accuracy in the last forty years.

The effects of religion hatred is membership in the cult of inevitable progress, the idea that denies original sin and insists humankind will eventually find utopia. Why is it not surprising to see today's media acting like mindless shrills for a Marxist, Christianity-mocking president?
Posted by: bveritas
May 10, 2011 09:37 AM EDT
It's insulting to believe that without large daily papers the populace will no longer be informed. The problem is, when I read the New York times, for example, it takes too long to figure out how I am being lied to. Better to just ignore them and seek out news sources that do not have their history of bias. I no longer read a daily paper and I get my information from the internet. While there is a broad range of reliability among the internet news providers, it is not that difficult to separate the good from the bad. At the very least, the internet provides coverage of stories that the Major Newspapers would never cover. I say good riddance to large daily papers; they are no different than the rest of the media, of which more than 80% of their members self identify as liberals. If we could eliminate that other wicked cartel, the teacher's union and the public school system, we would then begin to have an educated and informed populace. Posted by: Dan Haggerty
June 25, 2013 11:17 AM EDT
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