With the recent passing of Walter Cronkite, it would appear that the role of Bitter-Old-Doom-Sayer has been passed on to Dan Rather.
The main duty of this role is to continually insist that 1) America is only as great as the mainstream media, 2) that the media has lost its way now that it's being run by a bunch of snot-nosed brats in their early (as opposed to late) 60s), 3) that the current state of CBS News is the number one issue facing this country, and, most importantly, 4) that there is no other legitimate source of information out there beyond the networks and the newspapers.
Admittedly, Rather was already doing this before Cronkite's passing. However, now that Dan Rather has the stage to himself, one can expect him to take these efforts to the usual Rather extreme.
Case in point: at the Aspen Institute, Rather recently called on the federal government to "save journalism." Apparently, Rather wants the Obama administration to establish "a White House commission on public media" which will somehow free the mainstream media from the demands of financial institutions and political interest groups.
Perhaps Rather is hoping that the federal government will bail-out the American journalism establishment.
Speaking for myself, just the idea would seem to be a massive violation of freedom of the press. If, as both Cronkite and now Rather were fond of claiming, the proper role of the press is to be critical of the government (and they're both right as far as that is concerned), then it also seems like the last thing any true journalist would want would be for that same government to involve itself in how the mainstream media works,
Does Rather seriously believe that the federal government would step in and "save" journalism without expecting anything in return?
Does Rather seriously believe that this is the best way to maintain an "independent" press?
Is he truly the naive?