Elder statesmen of the media like Walter Cronkite and William Safire are dropping at an alarming rate, and their replacements need to step up, writes Peggy Noonan. Ranters on the right and the left—like MSNBC's Ed Schultz, who says Republicans "want to see you dead"—are proliferating, she notes, and cooler heads are urgently needed to steer the national debate away from madness and violence.
Safire, Cronkite, and their ilk "were tough guys who got in big fights, but they had a sense of responsibility towards the country, and towards its culture," Noonan writes in the Wall Street Journal. "They, actually, were protective toward it." The media world has changed beyond recognition since they rose to the top, she says, but their role still needs to be filled. The next generation of media elders must bring America back from the brink and "be mature, think of the collective, of the country as a whole," she writes. "If they don't do it, who will?"