It’s very easy to dismiss today’s journalists as high maintenance and pampered celebrity pundits, unworthy descendants of their beloved and revered Walter Cronkite. And you’d be right in
most enough cases. You can blame it on their network bosses and corporate owners, who have reduced much of the “news” to easily digestible distraction nuggets for a woefully uninformed public.
But as much energy as I spend turning off my TV in disgust these days, I’m equally in awe of those who use the airwaves for good, building our understanding of a topic and sometimes even, sorry, advocacy. Good TV, as rare and oxymoronic as that may sound, can produce some of the best narrative to our world. And no matter how much more I consume online, in magazines or books, I’m still a boob tube kid.
So with the holiday festivities bringing us all around TV sets (sorry, Hulu and video streaming) in the coming weeks, this is a good time to celebrate some of the best and brightest we have at camera one. In no particular order, my 2009 media heroes:
RACHEL MADDOW — Maddow is not a new face to diehard MSNBC viewers, having been a frequent guest before she got her own high profile show. Not allowing a poorly researched or factually porous statement—by the Right or Left—to waft by without getting swatted down, Maddow was a formidable pundit but an unlikely nightly host. But that was then, and with her popularity, original wit and anti-TV persona, she’s making it easy to tune out Olbermann’s sorely repetitive
Bush Fox News bashing. A tough lesbian liberal thoughtfully dismantling conservative hypocrisy and dogma during prime time? For the Right, that’s got to sting a bit. (@Maddow)
BILL MOYERS — To me, Moyers epitomizes the journalistic hero who takes his powerful role of informing the public to heart. His gray hair and kindly southern demeanor is comforting and his storyteller style is perfect for his hour-long PBS format of Bill Moyers Journal. I can’t imagine who’d replace him if he decided to retire one day (he’s 75). For a dose of what you get with Moyers, just watch his recent report on the LBJ tapes and escalation of the Vietnam War (hint: here we go again). Clearly with a progressive mindset, Moyers is not shy about where he wants you to end up after he’s finished laying out his impassioned case. But you never get the idea that you’ve been convinced–simply informed and illuminated. (Moyers: To Twitter or not to Twitter)
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON — She’s not technically my boss since she doesn’t pay me, nor does she care if I show up for work each day. But I have been a blogger on the HuffPo since early 2008. If you don’t mind sifting through a ton of daily content, there is no deeper archive of current event news, opinion, aggregated content and citizen journalism around. Decry the titillating nipple slip shots and political star fucking if you want, but AH represents, in many ways, the future of journalism. (@HuffingtonPost)
>>>NEXT: Gwen Ifill, Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org