Friday, July 17, 2009

And That's The Way He Was ... Walter Cronkite Passes Away

You knew he was getting on in years, you saw reports of some illness, yet, it was still a gut punch to hear the news that legendary CBS News Anchor Walter Cronkite has passed away today, at the age of 92.

Walter Cronkite, Iconic Anchorman, Dies

Mr. Cronkite anchored the “CBS Evening News” from 1962 to 1981, at a time when television became the dominant medium of the United States. He figuratively held the hand of the American public during the civil rights movement, the space race, the Vietnam war, and the impeachment of Richard Nixon. During his tenure, network newscasts were expanded to 30 minutes from 15.

“It is impossible to imagine CBS News, journalism or indeed America without Walter Cronkite,” Sean McManus, the president of CBS News, said in a statement. “More than just the best and most trusted anchor in history, he guided America through our crises, tragedies and also our victories and greatest moments.”

It's hard to describe what he meant, how enormous he was.

Even as a young child, I was a news junkie, and grew up watching Walter Cronkite, night-after-night, for nearly 20-years.

It's like arguing about ballplayers, of different generations.

You had to be there, live it, feel it, have be part of your life, to fully understand, and appreciate, the impact this one man had on this country.

For so many, millions, he delivered the news, of President John F. Kennedy's assassination;

Walter Cronkite announces death of JFK

As much as you could say Cronkite worked for "The Man", as part of the establishment, you knew that he was the "real deal", that he would give it to you straight, his ending nightly signature "And that's the way it is ... " but one indication of this.

Perhaps covering wars, both World War II (he, as a young reporter, covered the Normandy Invasion), and later, Vietnam, finely tuned his "bullshit" meter.

It has been said, that Walter Cronkite's dissing the Vietnam War was the reason, a major factor, in President Lyndon Johnson not seeking reelection.
As the TET offensive continued into February, the anchorman for the CBS evening news, Walter Cronkite, traveled to Vietnam and filed several reports. Upon his return, Cronkite took an unprecedented step of presenting his "editorial opinion" at the end of the news broadcast on February 27th. "For it seems now more certain than ever," Cronkite said, "that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate." After watching Cronkite's broadcast, LBJ was quoted as saying. "That's it. If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America."
Walter Cronkite, 1968

Walter Cronkite Remembers His Tet Offensive Editorial

Think any of the lightweights since Cronkite carried that kind of cred?

Brad Friedman, over on his Brad Blog, talks of a chance meeting with Cronkite, at FAO Schwarz toy store in New York City, in the late 1980's (after Cronkite had retired from CBS) and notes;
Not a particularly insightful story, other than for me, at that time in my life, I felt as if I had been in the presence of greatness. It was certainly the highlight of my holidays that year. He will be missed. So will the once-great American news corp which he left, and which left all of us, too long ago.
Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo echoes Brad's lament;
he will be missed. hell, he was missed when he retired in the 80's. now we've got david schuster and chris wallace as elder statesman in the news? god help us.

I don't think I am the only person, that wishes Walter Cronkite would be broadcasting the news forever ...

An incredible, gigantic giant has left us this evening.

God Bless you, Walter Cronkite ... Thank you for sharing your life with us ...

More Links

The Daily Beast: Walter Cronkite 1916 - 2009

Mike Madden, at Salon: Walter Cronkite dies

Ron Chusid: And That’s The Way It Was, November 4, 1916 – July 17, 2009

NYT: Walter Cronkite, Voice of TV News, Dies

CBS to Show Tribute to Cronkite Sunday Night

Memorable Reports by Walter Cronkite

More Walter Cronkite Video

CBS evening news with Walter Cronkite 4-4-68

Walter Cronkite And The Lunar Landing (CBS News)

Walter Cronkite - On his "that's the way it is" signoff

A Conversation with Walter Cronkite

1 comment:

ddadmin said...

Wow, another famous person to leave. Walter (referred to as "Uncle Walt") was a great man that knew how to deliver news. I wish these noobs nowadays had such skills. Prayers to Walter's family and friends. In his memory, for his fans I have collected some great sites and articles (more than 200) to know all about Walter Cronkite. If you are interested take a look at the below link