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Christian Living

healthenews 07/23/09

Cronkite and Global Warming

Today is the funeral for Walter Cronkite, a journalist due great respect in many ways. Cronkite was naturally not one to shy away from tackling issues. In that spirit and amidst all the glowing praise for Cronkite, the news media also ought to take a look at the other side -- where he may have failed to apply journalistic thoughtfulness.

That specific area is global warming. Despite much legitimate dissent to the global warming scenarios, Cronkite seemed quite unaware of other sides by participating in the Stop Global Warming Virtual March, "The governments of the world have tarried long enough, and the United States is scarcely without doubt the greatest culprit among them." This is a bold statement and one that would be hard to support on the facts.

For a journalist of the old school -- which often stipulated an extreme form of objectivity -- this advocacy would be taboo. It goes against the grain of the standards he seemed to uphold.

Some may justify his taking sides because he was out of journalism since he left the CBS anchor position in 1981. But few would really contest his status as a life-long Mr. Journalism who had a reputation to uphold.

Moreover, while the Stop Global Warming group claims to be non-partisan, most of the politicians among the virtual marchers are Democrats -- with the notable exceptions of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Sen. John McCain. Yet that's another taboo of the old school -- being connected with groups that lean toward one political party or the other.

Another virtual marcher among the notables listed by Stop Global Warming is football player Reggie Bush. By virtue of his joining the Saints in New Orleans, he claims to "have witnessed global warming's impact from Hurrican Katrina first hand." Oh, really? Even most of the really speculative scientists don't find a legitimate connection between warming and bad hurricanes. Did Cronkite really want to associate himself with such marginal thinking?

Indeed, Cronkite was very willing to condemn the United States as actually abandoning reason by not joining "the great march to environmental victory." Quite a number of scientists question whether there even is global warming from greenhouse gases. Even if there is, it may well not be man-caused. Many of the suggested policies that would restrict carbon output would unduly harm the poor of the world --  and that would be no victory.

Of course, no person of legitimate stature such as Cronkite should be remembered solely for their faults -- nor would it be sound journalism in the old or new schools to overlook Cronkite's warts in the rush to praise a media pioneer and giant.

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