Walter Cronkite, born at St. Joseph, Missouri on 4 November 1916, died last evening at New York City. While in high school at Houston, Texas he was a cub reporter at the Houston Post, and had a paper route, possibly the only journalist to deliver his own words to subscribers. He left college for a job at the Houston Press, then worked at several small radio stations before joining United Press to cover World War II. He waded ashore on D-Day, parachuted into combat, and flew bomber missions. He was UP's lead correspondent for the Nuremburg trials, then reopened several European offices before opening and managing the Moscow office. Edward R. Murrow hired him at CBS in 1950. When he led the CBS team at the 1952 party conventions he was called the anchor, a term that is now almost universal in TV news. In April of 1962 Cronkite became the anchor of the CBS Evening News, although he insisted on Managing Editor as his title, a position he held until 1981. When he returned from Vietnam after the Tet offensive of 1968 and described the war as a stalemate, President Johnson decided not to run for reelection.
Today, instead of hearing "Uncle Walter's" baritone delivery of the news, I get my news delivered by e-mail and the web; however given the state of affairs of the main-stream media today, to hear him say one more time, "And that's the way it was." – would be music to my ears.
“I am a news presenter, a news broadcaster, an anchorman, a managing editor – not a commentator or analyst. I feel no compulsion to be a pundit.”
“I think somebody ought to do a survey as to how many great, important men have quit to spend time with their families who spent any more time with their family.”
“Interviewing friends is a tough one. Your duty to the interview must transcend your friendship. Occasionally you'll lose a friend.”
“It is a seldom proffered argument as to the advantages of a free press that it has a major function in keeping the government itself informed as to what the government is doing.”
“Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy magazine.”
“We've got a great percentage of our population that, to our great shame, either cannot or, equally unfortunate, will not read. And that portion of our public is growing. Those people are suckers for the demagogue.”
All from Walter Cronkite, 1916 – 2009