... or rather the original quote reads: "And that's the way it is."
As anchorman of CBS Evening News, these are the words Walter Cronkite used for decades to conclude his newscasts. Today, the concept behind this catchphrase is obsolete, as nothing in media, especially news broadcasting, remains static for very long. In Media and Globalization, Peter van Ham uses this example to show how media revolutions, most recently the Internet and blogs, are changing the way people inform themselves.
Margaret Meade in her quote, as seen above at the Newseum in Washington DC, highlights the positive in witnessing events as they happen. But, the same characteristics which promote the free flow of information and make our media environment a virtual public sphere, also pull control away from the government. When media control is not monopolized by the state, this decreases their social power, and with it the capacity for agenda-setting. Van Ham describes how the role of media as an avenue of social power is manifested in two ways: states managing and protecting their own information space, and policies to influence the media space of others. Both are affected by new technology and media transformations.
In recognition of these changes, Walter Isaacson in his speech at the 60th anniversary of Radio Free Europe (RFE) advocates taking steps to facilitate the conversations that don’t just disseminate, but share news and ideas. As he begins to patriotically wax poetic about the free flow of information as a driver of tolerance and democracy, ergo American values, he does make several points clear. He thinks credibility is king, so RFE needs to continue to do what it does well through television and radio. He also thinks that it would be foolish to ignore new methods of communication, and that promoting the free flow of information through peer-to-peer sharing, will have a positive affect on credibility, as well.