The rise and fall of television news: no more father figures

The rise and fall of television news: no more father figures

by Jon Rappoport

January 24, 2018

When network television news was created in the late 1940s, no one in charge knew how to do it. It was a new creature.

Sponsors? Yes. A studio with a desk and an anchor? Yes. A list of top stories? Yes. Important information for the public? Yes.

Of course, “important information” could have several definitions—and the CIA already had a few claws into news, so there would be boundaries and fake stories within those boundaries.

The producers knew the anchor was the main event; his voice, his manner, his face. He was the actor in a one-man show. But what should he project to the audience at home?

The first few anchors were dry sandpaper. John Cameron Swayze at NBC, and Douglas Edwards at CBS. But Swayze, also a quiz show host, broke out of the mold and imparted a bit of “cheery” to his broadcasts. A no-no. So he was eventually dumped.

In came a duo. Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. NBC co-anchors from 1956 to 1970. Chet was the heavy, with a somber baritone, and David was “twinkly,” as he was called by network insiders. He lightened the mood with a touch of sarcasm and an occasional grin. It worked. Ratings climbed. Television news as show biz started to take off. At the end of every broadcast, there was: “Good night, Chet.” “Good night, David.” The audience ate it up. They loved that tag.

However, rival CBS wasn’t standing still. They offloaded their anchor, Douglas Edwards, a bland egg, and brought in Walter Cronkite, who would go on to do 19 years in the chair (1962-1981). Walter was Chet Huntley with a difference. As he grew older, he emerged as a father, a favorite uncle, with an authoritative hills-and-valleys baritone that created instant trust. Magic. A news god was born.

Despite many efforts at the three major networks, no anchor over the past 40 years has been able to pull off the full Cronkite effect.

The closest recent competitor—until he was fired for lying and exiled to the waste dump at MSNBC—was Brian Williams. Williams artfully executed a reversal of tradition. He portrayed the youthful prodigy, a gradually maturing version of a newsboy who once bicycled along country roads, threw folded up papers on front porches, and knew all his customers by name. A good boy. A local boy. Your neighbor under the maple trees of an idyllic town. Cue the memories.

By the time Williams took over the helm at NBC, television news was decidedly a team operation. There were reporters in the field. The technology enabled the anchor to go live to these bit players, who tried to exude the impression they were actually running down leads and interviewing key sources on the spot—when in fact they could just as well be doing their stand-ups from a hot dog cart outside 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the home studio of the network—because most of their information was really coming from inside that studio.

Nevertheless, the team was everything. The anchor was a manager, and his job was to impart an authentic feel to every look-in, from the White House to Paris to Berlin to Jerusalem to Beijing to a polar bear on an iceberg.

And local television news was blowing up to gargantuan proportions. Every city and town and village and hamlet seemed to have its own gaggle of hearty faces delivering vital info of interest to the citizenry. Branding and shaping this local phenomenon evolved into: FAMILY. Yes, that was the ticket. These bubbly, blown-dry, enthused, manic news and weather and sports hawks were really “part of the community.” News was no longer shoveled high and deep with an air of objectivity. “Aloof” was out. Share and care was in. What that had to do with actual news was anyone’s guess, but there it was. “Hi, we’re your team at KX6, and we feel what you feel and we live here with you and we know when the roads are icy and the wrecks pile up on the I-15 and our friends the cops arrest someone for cocaine possession and when the charity bake sale is coming up to pay for [toxic] meds for seniors at the nursing home and when your cousin Judy passes away we mourn as you do…”

News for and by a fictional collective.

Disney news.

A caricature of a simulacrum of an imitation.

The discovery was: the viewing audience wanted news as a cartoon.

The problem is: this model deteriorates. The descending IQ of the news producers and anchors and reporters undergoes a grotesque revolution. Year by year, broadcasts make less sense. Even on the national scene, NBC hands its prime anchor spot to Lester Holt, who plays the old Addams Family living corpse, Lurch.

ABC, always looking for a new face, goes all in with David Muir, a Sears underwear-model type.

CBS counters with a youngish cipher, Jeff Glor, after ridding itself of Scott Pelley, who, true to his on-camera persona, might show up on The Young and the Restless as a lunatic surgeon doing operations without anesthetic.

The networks are losing it.

It’s a sight to behold.

Cable news is even worse. The longest surviving anchor is Wolf Blitzer at CNN. Wolf’s energy level tops out as a man in a tattered bathrobe, in his kitchen, chatting with his cousin while they play checkers.

Meanwhile, independent online news comes on like a storm.

Turns out it fills a need that has been there since the beginning of television.

You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but between those two extremes, there are millions and millions of people who recognize the so-called real news has been fake for a long time.

They’ve left that bubble.

The artfulness of network news has disintegrated and failed.

Pop goes the weasel.

Major media long ago built their wall. The wall protects everyone from bloated corrupt government institutions, mega-corporate partners of government, and major banks, to street thugs. Now, as these media fail to magnetize minds as in days of yore, the wall is crumbing. Therefore, what is behind it is being exposed.

More importantly, people are coming to see their thoughts and constructions of reality are imports, not their own. The tonnage of pictures fed to them, along with voiceover, were forgeries.

WHAT IS, was the business of the news. That business has lost its traction.

To some, this amounts to bubbling confusion. To others, it is a fresh clean breeze blowing through an empty house, which imagination can remake in more bracing forms.

The future is open, unscripted.

A new day, if we recognize it.

The Matrix Revealed

(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, The Matrix Revealed, click here.)

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.

28 comments on “The rise and fall of television news: no more father figures

  1. simpleworkathomeplan says:

    Your penmanship is mesmerizing!

  2. Al Soto says:


  3. elantoh says:

    Guess 50 years of never watching I didn’t miss anything.

  4. Lea says:

    I was just mentioning to dad yesterday, “Have you ever seen so many false eyelashes , heavy ake-up and home shopping style jewelery on the talking news heads”?
    Perhaps the networks think the showgirl look will draw more eyes seeing more and more folks are getting their new from sources other than The Canadian roadcasting company.

    Canada’s own Wendy Mesley, host of The Weekly” did a piece on RT news declared , “Even Larry King is on it”!
    Went onto show a clip of a man on an RT piece saying the U.S. trains ISIS mem ers ….the states are involved in creating terrorist groups..
    Then it cuts to Wendy shaking her head saying, “They have no shame,..and just to e clear, THAT WAS A COMPLETE LIE “.
    Russia Today was randed the most dangerous type of propaganda and that Canadians are in danger when choosing to listen to and watch RT.
    I have a sinking feeling the ca-le roviders will soon eliminate RT news as an alternative choice for Canadians.
    This was a truly creepy anti Russian propaganda piece meant to say Canadians are too stupid to discern “real” news….like our North American propaganda.
    THanks Jon for all your great and true articles.

  5. truth1 says:

    You know, they killed late night shows, too. Late used to have fizaz and spice, It was funny, Unbiasedly funny. some jokes for the left and some for the right. Jay Leno caught his stride after a while and dominated the Market like Carson had once done. but the Lords of TV said enough picking on our flaws here on the left. We want nothing but haters of Right wing rhetoric, making jokes only of the Right. And so it came to be, An evening and a morning, the day of the Marxists.

    Of course, the late night shows lost a good deal of their audience, but money, contrary to popular belief, has never been the real objective. It is, above all other things, about shaping beliefs and attitudes. So good comedy is out and pur one-sided crap is king. I mourn the loss of the Jay Leno monologue. those were good times. the good old USA gulag is alive and well. No good jokes allowed. Good Comedy has always been feared by authorities and powers.

  6. trishwriter says:

    In the 80s of last century, I worked in advertising sales of a local NBC affiliate in North Carolina. The news crew was indeed sanctified, although our station’s newscast was usually fourth for that time slot in the market. Most often, the independent station, a Fox affiliate, usually came out ahead in the ratings with whatever syndicated show it was running. Nevertheless, our anchors did their best to be a part of the community, although to my knowledge, they had each come there specifically for the job at our station. None of the anchors had grown up in the community.

    Ah, it was quite a show. And quite a time to be in the thick of local news. Everything seemed pretty darned important, whether it was or not. Most of us sales folks could afford cocaine from time to time to dull the pain of what we did. The anchors were paid pretty well, I’m guessing, but most of the other news folks were scraping by. We were good people trying to do good things in a system designed for the propaganda from the powers that shouldn’t be. Many of us had grown up watching the very anchors you write about and we thought ourselves quite special to be working in the broadcasting industry. It scares me to think of what might replace it, but I am also thankful that it is being replaced.

  7. Lavender Dreams says:

    Yes, A NEW DAY!! And thank goodness I can recognize it!!

  8. rufus says:

    Good riddance. The whole game is information. You are responsible for your own guided by experience and intuition and hopefully with an eye for the truth.

  9. From Quebec says:

    Yesterday, I watched the daily briefing with Sandra Sander on YouTube.. She does a good job.

    But my attention was in the crowd of journalist asking questions. I could not believe how ugly they all were. Really ugly. They looked like a bunch of hungry cannibal aliens with an IQ below room temperature looking for a piece of meat to chew on

    Holy Toledo! Are these the peoples who feeds the Main Stream Media?

    If so, we are all in deep trouble. Thank God that we have alternative media that we can rely on..

  10. Wrusssr says:

    Walter Cronkite = genuine globalist

    • Theodore says:

      Thanks Wrusser!

      I learned a new word from Walter today! at the 9m43s mark: “niggardly”

      definition: “grudgingly mean about spending or granting [monies to the UN]”. And with Trump now in the presidency, even more so!

      • Theodore says:

        Wow! and, just after the 12m00s mark, Walter mentions George Soros!!!

      • Theodore says:

        Wow! at the 12m56s mark… he blames the US legislators ‘who pander’ to the Christians!

        • maidinamerica says:

          Wo! And he is glad to sit at the right hand of satan!

        • truth1 says:

          Pander? don’t they mean slander? they court Christians only for war. Constantine did the very same thing about 300 AD. but they hate Christian ethics and morals, though I admit. most “professed” Christians are lacking in that today.

          • Theodore says:

            Yes. But I was just quoting Walter.

            “They court Christians only for war.”

            Good point.

            They also court Mooslims for war, and, for barbarism, too.

            BTW, when are the Mooslims going to have their Reformation? At last count, they’re 500 years behind schedule.

      • Theodore says:

        [First Lady] Crooked Hillary at the 15m15s mark!

    • trishwriter says:

      Wow, wow, wow–what a traitor indeed. And “We Came, We Saw, He Died — hahahaha” Clinton’s advocating for world peace is tragically humorous in light of the many allegations against her and her lying spouse. Thank you so much for posting this information. Not only was Cronkite a traitor but he was also a deceiver, coming out with his true treasonous self only after securing financial success from his propaganda career.

  11. honestliberty says:

    Jon, for all things righteous… We need to get a panel on Joe Rogan with you, Anthony Watts, Randall Carlson, Graham Hancock, and James Corbett. What a stellar group interaction that would be and also, the exposure would be outstanding. I’d lump in Jordan Peterson but he’s maybe too entrenched in status quo and hierarchy…I dunno. He’s so damn intelligent, though. I really wish I could watch an hour long dialogue between you two. It would be enlightening. Richard Grove and Brett Veinotte. Aaron and Melissa Dykes.

    I’m starving for more collaboration amongst your outlets. I’ve tried to facilitate these but apparently my peon, unknown status makes such a request irrelevant. I’m not in the movement making videos and what not. Oh well.

    The conversation would be talked about for generations. Then maybe we could have you and Corbett/Richard Grove/Brett Veinotte square off against the likes of Michael Shermer and other Jack Wagon defenders of the establishment.

    Jon, hear me out man. This is a connection that needs to be made. Let’s get some solutions based interactions amongst the authentic!

  12. Larry says:

    I’m picturing you, Rappoport, as the anchor on the Nightly News …

    Now *that* is a broadcast I would watch!!! 😂

  13. Chip DeNure says:

    The evening newscast is essentially a criminal enterprise. The anchor is the Godfather, and the correspondents are accomplices. The goal, of course, is to dispense the illusions necessary to advance the elite agenda. Successful anchors must project gravitas. Toss in some impressive theme music, and voila’ you have something Josef Goebbels would be proud of.

  14. Robert Klinck says:

    To see through the “fog of news” you need only ask yourself, while having your “dose” administered, Who has selected this person to play the role of an authority on what happened in the world today that is important, and who drafted the text he/she is reading? The artificiality and manipulativeness of the phenomenon thereupon become instantly evident. It can achieve credibility only to a mind that is operating passively.

    • Lavender Dreams says:

      Completely agree. Those who sit passively are also not aware of the white lines and blue background of ALL the tv station studio sets. This is to dull the mind even more to the chemtrails outside.

      • Larry says:

        YES! This has been going on for well over a decade. The white lines are also incorporated into print advertising, MIcrosoft’s home page software, etc …clearly a psychological ploy to numb our senses to what is going on in the sky directly over our heads!

        • Lavender Dreams says:

          Yes, Larry, and on billboards, and lots of other print media. Funny thing is the more I saw that stuff…the more I woke up! Ploy did not work on me. And it seems many others are waking up, too.

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