Sunday, July 26, 2009

Walter Cronkite: The Man, The Myth, The Legend

The papers are chock full of wonderful obituaries remembering legendary news anchor Walter Cronkite who died yesterday at the age of 92.

Among the sentiments shared are:

Washington Post: "Cronkite's career reflected the arc of journalism in the mid-20th century" from wire service reporter to radio voice to, finally, television.

New York Times' Douglas Martin: "He became something of a national institution, with an unflappable delivery, a distinctively avuncular voice and a daily benediction: 'And that's the way it is.'"

President Barack Obama: "He brought us all those stories large and small which would come to define the 20th century. That's why we love Walter, because in an era before blogs and e-mail, cell phones and cable, he was the news. Walter invited us to believe in him, and he never let us down."

Don Hewitt, executive producer of CBS News, creator of "60 Minutes":
"America had a love affair with Walter Cronkite."

Katie Couric, anchor and managing editor, "The CBS Evening News":
"There is something that is so quintessentially American about Walter Cronkite ... his honesty and candor in difficult times…if someone has integrity, to me, that is the finest attribute they can have. That means honor at a time when so many people are dishonorable. I think Walter Cronkite was and will always be the personification of those qualities."

Mickey Hart, drummer of the Grateful Dead:
"He was a freedom fighter and he was an honest, truthful guy that used his power while he was here on earth well, he was for the good… It just so happens that everybody's trust was put in the right place. That's the lucky part of all this."

President Bill Clinton:
"The passing of the years did not diminish as nearly as I could tell, one iota, his interest in, and love for his country and his desire to see the world get better."

George Clooney, actor/director:
"His legacy will be one of the great legacies of great Americans. It sounds overstated, but it isn't. He’s that important to us. Not just to generations before him but to generations coming up… That's probably good that there will never be a most trusted man in America again because if we’re not lucky enough to get Walter Cronkite, then we might be in a lot of trouble."

Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor, "NBC Nightly News":
"Walter got early on that this job is part hand holding, so that all of us in this line of work - who on days like 9/11 have been forced into any kind of explanatory role - Walter is with you whether you see him in the studio or not!"

Andy Rooney, correspondent, "60 Minutes": "He was the best newsman, he was just dedicated to news, he really cared about what the news was and he thought it was important to tell it to the American people, it's that simple."

Charlie Gibson, anchor, ABC "World News": "Walter's early lessons would be well kept in mind by all of us who have followed him. And that is to keep it on the news. Tell people what happened that day, keep it short, keep it direct, and keep it accurate."

CBS, the network that Cronkite helped put on the map via his nightly newscast, released a series of clips featuring the man known to many Americans as simply "Uncle Walter".

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