Sunday, July 19, 2009
R.I.P Walter Cronkite
There have been some high profile passings over the past few weeks, Ed, Farrah, Michael... all of whom entered my conscience during my earliest days of adolescence. I guess it is that time in my life where many of the things and people I grew up with are bound to move on from this mortal coil. This weekends addition has had a huge impact on me, CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite who passed away on Friday evening at the age of 92. Cronkite, personified television journalism for more than a generation as the anchor and managing editor of the "CBS Evening News.
Known for his steady and straightforward delivery, his trim mustache, and his iconic sign-off line -"That’s the way it is" - Cronkite dominated the television news industry during one of the most volatile periods of American history. He broke the news of the Kennedy assassination, reported extensively on Vietnam and Civil Rights and Watergate, and seemed to be the very embodiment of TV journalism. But, those days are gone, along with the integrity which once epitomized reporting.
If you are old enough to remember Walter's tearing up and choked voice when announcing the death of our 35th President, you know that he truly was America personified on that day. He felt and expressed the grief of a nation.
"Cronkite came to be the sort of personification of his era," veteran PBS Correspondent Robert McNeil once said. "He became kind of the media figure of his time. Very few people in history, except maybe political and military leaders, are the embodiment of their time, and Cronkite seemed to be."
At one time, his audience was so large, and his image so credible, that a 1972 poll determined he was "the most trusted man in America" - surpassing even the president, vice president, members of Congress and all other journalists. In a time of turmoil and mistrust, after Vietnam and Watergate, the title was a rare feat - and the label stuck.
"For decades, Walter Cronkite was the most trusted voice in America," said President Barack Obama in a statement. "His rich baritone reached millions of living rooms every night, and in an industry of icons, Walter set the standard by which all others have been judged."
Mr. Obama said that Cronkite calmly shared the world's news while never losing his integrity.
"But Walter was always more than just an anchor," Mr. Obama said. "He was someone we could trust to guide us through the most important issues of the day; a voice of certainty in an uncertain world. He was family. He invited us to believe in him, and he never let us down. This country has lost an icon and a dear friend, and he will be truly missed."
For myself it was Walters coverage of the manned space program of the 60s and 70's that truly drew me to him... his enthusiasm and his sense of the historical nature of the Apollo program. It was the golden age for anchormen, newscasters and Walter was someone you instinctively learned to trust... he was part of the family in our household from 1961 to 1981... I personally will miss him. God Speed Walter!
"And thats the way it is July 17th 2009"
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Posted by EpiphanyNoir at 7/19/2009 07:21:00 PM