The old and the news

Mike Wallace, June 10, 2007. Photo by Terry Ballard. Creative Commons.

Has anyone noticed lately that there seems to be a growing number of old people on television, especially in the news, and especially on CBS.  I’m reminded of that fact by the death of Mike Wallace at 93. He retired from “Sixty Minutes at 88.” Andy Rooney was well into his nineties when he left the same show. Morley Safer is in his 80s; Bob Simon is 70; Steve Kroft is 66; Charlie Rose is 69.

On the distaff side of things, Lesley Stahl is 70, and Barbara Walters, who appears mostly on ABC,  is 74.

Maybe, just maybe, the American public will get used to looking at old people doing important things on TV, even though many stations seem to have a raft of youngish women news anchors I have trouble telling apart. And I don’t mean to forget the old days and people like Walter Conkrite and Harry Reasoner.

Probably most impressive to me is Elizabeth Palmer (also CBS), who is fifty-something and who has reported from many wars in the last year or so. It’s so wonderful to see a woman reporter who looks different, who has an older woman’s voice, and who is so obviously intelligent.

As our numbers grow, some of the clichés about older people will inevitably disappear. I hope.

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