Eric Sevareid – Last of the True Journalists

I’ve quoted several times from one of Eric Sevareid‘s books, Conversations with Eric Sevareid: Interviews with Notable Americans. It’s an interesting book that followed his short-lived interview program of the same name.

A reader sent me an email this evening with the link to this YouTube clip of Eric’s farewell address, “Just to contrast how far we’ve fallen.”

I think he’s right.

From November 30, 1977:


A friend and teacher of the late Walter Lippmann described the role of the professional reporter and observer of the news in this manner: “We make it our business,” he said, “to find out what is going on under the surface and beyond the horizon; to infer, to deduce, to imagine and to guess what is going on inside, and what this meant yesterday and what it could mean tomorrow. In this way we do what every sovereign citizen is supposed to do, but has not the time or the interest to do it for himself. This is our job. It is no mean calling. We have a right to be proud of it and to be glad it is our work.”

In the end, of course, it is not ones employers or colleagues that sustain one quite so much as a listening public, when it be so minded. And I have found it applies only one consistent test, not agreement with one on substance, but the perception of honesty and fair intent. There is, in the American people, a tough, undiminished instinct for what is fair. Rightly or wrongly, I have the feeling that I have passed that test. I shall wear this like a medal.

How far they have fallen, indeed.

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