Who Fills the Cronkite Void? ABC Reporter Says Michelle Obama

The Washington Post’s Style section conducted a survey of who could fill the most-trusted void left behind by Walter Cronkite. A series of liberal-media heroes were named: Brian Williams, Bill Moyers, Jim Lehrer, Barbara Walters, Fareed Zakaria, Garrison Keillor, and Jon Stewart. But several people skipped the media stars and selected the Obamas. ABC Nightline correspondent Vicki Mabrey nominated Michelle as a Cronkite replacement: "Rosie the Riveter for our times in a designer gown. You just want to be her best friend forever."

Mabrey rarely covers politics, although she did report on Gov. Sarah Palin’s resignation on July 6, and suggested the governor’s speech was "just plain rambling." Before joining ABC in 2005, she worked for CBS for 13 years. Several media stars were nominated more than once:

Jon Stewart. "He's got no agenda. His agenda is to get to the bottom of everyone's [baloney]. " -- Seth Hurwitz, co-owner of 9:30 club.

"When I think trust, I think who would I trust with my life. Would I trust Brad Pitt with my life? No. A newscaster? No. A politician? No. I'd never trust anybody out of my small circle of friends. Who do I trust not to [speak nonsense to] me? Jon Stewart. He'd be the first person I'd trust out of that genre." -- Nancy Pearlstein, owner of Relish, a women's clothing store in Georgetown.

Why does Stewart seem to just inspire the S-word in his tributes? PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers also drew repeat honors:

"Bill Moyers has a grandfatherly way about him that makes you believe him, even if its not what you want to hear. . . . 'Buying the War' was one of the best pieces of journalism about the Iraq war on television." -- Andy Shallal, owner of Busboys and Poets. [That’s the far-left café that hosted sixties terrorist Bill Ayers on his last D.C. speaking engagement.]

"When you talk about trust, you're dealing with language; what you are trusting is my language, what I'm saying. You are taking my word. That's how I look at Bill Moyers." -- E. Ethelbert Miller, poet.

Here are the other media entries:

Garrison Keillor. "Brutally honest at times, that man." -- Jim Sanborn, Washington artist.

Fareed Zakaria. He's unapologetic about being intellectually honest, even where his views may be uncomfortable for some. . . . He seems to have insights into the broader global context that offers true wisdom that Americans can learn from." -- Keith M. Harper, member of the Cherokee Nation and lawyer at Kilpatrick Stockton.

Jim Lehrer. "It's so cool that he's been covering the news for years and doesn't vote, doesn't have a party affiliation." -- Emil de Cou, associate conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra.

"Barbara Walters. As a foreigner like me coming to this country from Bolivia and knowing nothing, when you come to the States, you turn on the TV, and you watch the show, and something about her I liked from the beginning. . . . She's a master of extracting the real truth." -- German Vidal, sales manager for the Spanish department at Ourisman Honda.

This tribute to Anderson Cooper stuck out:

"I guess Anderson Cooper would be my answer, because he always has that slight bit of cynicism when it's deserved. . . . I always said there are only two reasons to have television: war and pornography. So I guess if it's war, I'd look at him. And I guess if I had to look at any newscaster in a porno film, I'd pick him." -- John Waters, filmmaker.

Here are the Barack Obama tributes, four of them, the most popular choice:

I trust Barack Obama -- he has incredible attributes and gifts -- but does the system he operates in allow him to bring all of that to bear? I don't think so." -- Liz Lerman, founder of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange.

"The first name that pops into my head is President Obama. I trust in him. I believe him. . . . Trust doesn't mean you have to like someone, just that you believe them." -- Jeffrey Banks, New York menswear designer.

"I'm not supposed to say Jon Stewart, right? . . . [My husband] Bill and I both agree fervently that we trust President Obama. Absolutely. I like what I perceive as his deep thoughtfulness."-- Deeda Blair, philanthropist and wife of William McCormick Blair, former U.S. ambassador to Denmark and the Philippines.

"Barack Obama. I respected him when he ran for office, and I respect him now. He is a man of integrity, he communicates well, and he is optimistic without being unrealistic." -- Stacy Keach, star of "King Lear" at Shakespeare Theatre Company.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis