WHEN MUCKRAKERS WERE IN …

Time Marches On, The Joy of Legendary Columnists

By Harry M. Covert

Like political aficionados all around these days, naïveté among the masses is rather overwhelming. To begin with, frequent world travelers know all this alleged hysteria about Russian interference doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

Most certainly old time newspaper muckrakers like Drew Pearson, Jack Anderson, Walter Winchell, and a few others, kept readers on the edges of their seats. My gosh, it was thrilling to get the real political inside news in black and white.

I’m not including other columnists and writers akin to James Reston, Eric Severeid, Arthur Krock, Jack Germond,

Walter Winchdell (right) and J. Edgar Hoover, a favorite source.

Walter Winchell (right) and J. Edgard Hoover, a favorite source.

Jules Witcover, Smith Hempstone, Clare Booth Luce and Joseph and

Edward R. Murrow

Edward R. Murrow

Stewart Alsop.

The above mentioned were something. It’s easy to throw in some modern day political watchers. I like to reference Mike Royco and Edward R. Murrow, too, even I. F. Stone and Harry Golden.

I’m not sure if journalism school teachers reference the above acclaimed political watchers. I’ve left out the names of others for spaces reasons. I know full well names make news. Those I’ve mentioned were – without exception – the absolute best watchers and critics of the antics of the political class. Modern day broadcast denizens, “stars” of the airways, could take some lessons.

Yes, time marches on. What doesn’t seem to be parading is news reporting. There’s plenty of commentating, opinion, goofiness with fact stretching and ideas that so many readers are just dumb.

The trashing of the presidency and others is like no other time in history. Political opposites have no qualms promoting untruths, half-truths and make believe.

What’s good for the land? It’s definitely difficult to find out where truth lies.

There is no secret that Russia’s cloak-n-dagger people are everywhere. American agents are everywhere in the world, as are British, Israeli, Chinese and every other nation’s clandestine organizations.

I’m not excusing the Russians for running to and fro in our representative democracy. But we need not try to act so ignorant or holier than others.

Spying goes back to Biblical days. Today’s journalistic crowd need to learn how it works. What is seen in modern day media is not the portrayals by fictitious James Bond, Gabriel Allen and others.

Reportage of today often seems a bit out of touch with the real secret world.

All this “who struck John” about surveillance of the new president is real stuff. I ask: Are readers and citizens honestly shocked by who is listening to whom? Not for one second should anyone be falling apart. Technology has made it simple to “wiretap” and scan communication, legally or fraudulently.

Of course, the government on all levels must be alert every moment of every day on the lookout for violators of peace and dignity of the country.

The growing problem for the Free Society as we know it lies in North Korea. There’s plenty of creeping danger out there. Need I suggest a few others quite obvious? Maybe at another time.

Danger is are everywhere. Delineators of the news must report aggressively world events. It’s not safe out there.♦♦