Former acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps said Monday that Walter Cronkite's memory could best be honored by tackling the "crisis in journalism" and what Copps sees as the larger issue of media consolidation.
In a statement on the death of Cronkite last week, Copps said that as a commissioner he had gotten to know the former CBS News anchor, including sharing a Columbia University platform in 2007 for a forum on the future of media.
"By then," said Copps, "Walter had been speaking out for a number of years about excessive media consolidation and the declining resources that were going into journalism-particularly investigative journalism."
He quoted Cronkite as saying at the time: "'America is the most prosperous and powerful nation in perhaps the history of the world. We can certainly afford to sustain a media system of which we can be proud.'"
Copps said that the nation will miss Cronkite's "sage counsel" as it begins "to grapple with the crisis in journalism that he saw coming long ago. We will best honor Walter Cronkite's memory by tackling this issue with the urgency it deserves."
One of the last things Copps did as acting chairman was to circulate a proposal among the other commissioners to launch an inquiry into the state of journalism, its causes and possible cures.