He hadn’t anchored the Evening News in nearly three decades, but Walter Cronkite set the standard for serious, authoritative network news. The stuff he covered was the biggest stuff of the 20th Century: from WWII to JFK, Apollo to Vietnam, Chicago ’68 to Watergate and the slow rot of America beginning in the mid-1970s.

At one point, Americans trusted him more than the president and vice president put together — of course, it was 1972 and the president and vice president were two of the sleaziest hucksters in World History, but still. Farewell, fellow Unipresser.

Here are some other historic and harrowing Cronkite broadcasts:

The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

The death of LBJ.

The (faked) moon landing.

First reports of JFK’s shooting and death.

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  1. I was watching CNN earlier, and they went to commerical while talking about Cronkite…a Billy Mays commercial. The only way that could be better is if they showed Cronkite interviewing Michael Jackson or Farrah Fawcett.

  2. In those days, it didn’t really happen until Uncle Walter said it did. “The author of On the Road reached the end of his today.” Everybody remembers where they were when Walter told us something major. (Chico’s apartment, in San Benito, TX, two days AWOL from the US Army.) He said, “How can you tune out of a world like this?” He meant us hippies, and the event on the tube was the moon landing.

    Before you were born, he did a program on Sundays he led into with something like, “It was a day like all days, filled with those events which alter and illuminate our time, and YOU ARE THERE. Then we’d go to Corregidor or Versailles or the Alamo.

    It was simpler then. There were three networks, and you could watch Walter bring the news which everyone did or some guy whose name really was Mud.

    I wonder if in fifty more years someone will remember distinctly “Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?”

  3. I always thought Cronkite sounded like something mined at great expense to the miner. Probably for the cold war. On behalf of miners everywhere, I day, happy trails….

  4. [re=365541]Prof. Junk[/re]: Dead people interviewing other dead people, brilliant, who else can. Too bad though, who’s going to tell us when Iraqistan is no longer winnable with Cronkite gone?

  5. All smart-assery aside, the man had that all-too-rare quality called integrity. I’m much too young to remember him from the black and white days, but I grew up with him in the late 70s-early 80s and he was as much a part of the cultural fabric as anyone I can recall. Every single time I see that footage of him announcing the death of JFK, it just rips my guts. Ah, well.

    RIP, Sir.

  6. I don’t have any snark handy. I used to want to be a journalist, growing up in the 70s, I thought it was the closest thing to becoming a super hero. Then I got to college in the 90s and discovered a journalism school run by the advertising school, and a profession that is more about entertaining the public than informing it.

    Cronkite was a giant and it saddens me to think we will never, ever see his like again.

  7. Walter Cronkite choked up on the air while telling us that JFK was dead. He was the one who, at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, watched Daley’s stormtroopers rough up Dan Rather on the convention floor and correctly called them out as “a bunch of thugs.” He helped end the Vietnam war by legitimizing on the national news what we DFH’s were howling about in the streets. This was the beginning of the so-called “liberal media bias” castigation against which today’s corporately-owned media whores defend themselves by fellating every wingnut asshole who comes down the pike. Compare this man’s historical perspective and genuineness with what passes for newscasters today and weep for what we’ve lost. RIP Uncle Walt. Job well done.

  8. He wasn’t full of shit. Who can you say that about today? When I was growing-up the “news” was the podunk local news fueled by high powered auto-dealership ads. The national news was fifteen minutes of information seemingly so remote that it bore little mention. I’m uncertain when the networks went to a half hour. (mid 60’s?) This 24 hour news cycle madness is eating itself. Rest, Walter.

  9. It is sad when a truly great man pass away. Thankfully, he gave us so much, and he cannot be blamed for what FOX and others have made of the news now.

    MSNBC has had very nice coverage. It was nice to listen to Dan Rather (in studio, no less) and Tom Brokaw discuss Cronkite with Rachel Maddows. It reminded you that the news can be about facts and calm reflection. We can all thank Walter Cronkite (along with others such as Murrow) for those moments when the news does something right, and isn’t about ideology or entertainment.

  10. [re=365551]Paul Tardy[/re]: I’m not sure the whole thing is online. I’ve been looking for it for a good part of the evening, but all I’ve seen is that 38 seconds and clips of his commentary about the speech. Not the whole thing.

  11. Well, at least he lived to see the high media standards he set lowered close enough to the ground so that today’s tv journalists could easily squat and shit all over them. The Michael Jackson death coverage and the actual death of Walter Cronkite truly signal that teevee journalism if beyond fucked. He retired the year I was born, so tv journalism has pretty much been going town the tubes my entire life. Awesome.


  12. His undeniable integrity came from being being committed to the role of journalism in a democracy first and foremost. His first responsibility was always to inform the public….not to talk down to it, encite it, exploit it, entertain it, or sell it to advertisers. As a recent casualty in the death of TV news, his passing means that the broadcast news I grew up with and once loved is now completely and irrevocably over. Rest in peace Uncle Walter. Your work is done and done magnificently.

  13. [re=365556]SayItWithWookies[/re]: It’s the neo cons, they don’t want the American people to know Vietnam is still unwinable.

    Walter Cronkite (Ragtime-Hip Hop), RIP

  14. This man flew over Nazi Germany, landed in Nazi Occupied Europe, and shot .50 cal at Focke-Wulfs and Messerchmitts. Talk about putting it on the line.

    F**k you, Manne Coulter, Mush Limpbaugh, and Glen Dreck. Walter Cronkite will always be the Gold Standard by which you will never be measured.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he figured out a way to report back from the afterlife and tell us all who really killed JFK.

    He and Ed Murrow are hoisting a few right now. Thanks for your service, Uncle Walter.

  15. Something to remember: While it’s true that you won’t see a Walter Cronkite type of national newsman again, nobody had seen one before he anchored the CBS evening news, either.

    He was a talented guy in the right time, in the right place. As the teevee became ubiquitous in the early 1960s and networks got serious about a nightly newscast, Cronkite took his solid wire and print journalism to the evening anchor desk. By the time he retired, two tumultuous decades of American madness had been televised. When Dan Rather took over the desk, cable was already there. I was already reading online news on GEnie, and we had 40 channels on cable, including the new MTV.

    (Or maybe not exactly, I don’t remember, but the first couple of years of the 1980s saw all of those things.)

    But I do remember that I was doing a high-school newscast (shown county-wide on Cox Cable) from a fully equipped magnet-school television studio when John Belushi died, because I ripped it off the AP wire machine and stuck it on the breaking-news nail on the wall. Already, the video news was opening up. Talk radio was starting, as the music broadcasters moved off shitty AM because all the cars and beat boxes had FM. Usenet was coming up.

    Maybe the best thing Cronkite did was retire when he retired. He could’ve done the news right up until this decade, but it wouldn’t have been Walter Cronkite doing the important CBS Evening News. That ended way back when people first wanted (and got) their MTV.

    Anyway, our nature is impermanence. We are all of the nature to die. But, in this weird era, we also get to see a lot of fantastic shit come and go, at a very rapid pace. Nothing was “better” before, just different. The nation’s black leader was assassinated when Cronkite did the nightly news. Now the actual president just happens to be black, and I’m pretty sure my grandkids won’t understand why that was a big deal.

  16. Sad: Walter Cronkite’s death. Sadder: We have to listen to today’s teevee journalists interview each other re:Walter Cronkite’s death.

  17. “He hadn’t anchored the Evening News in nearly three decades, but Walter Cronkite set the standard for serious, authoritative network news,” which perhaps coincidentally has not occurred in nearly three decades.

    So not all of the good die young.

  18. [re=365564]Paul Tardy[/re]: Oh, they have an answer for that. They just keep saying it was winnable and insist that President Obama own the loss in Vietnam and stop blaming it on previous administrations.

  19. I remember the CBS ‘eye’ after M*A*S*H. It was pretty somber in my household; my non-collegiate father worked for a Bucks County paper while a lot of his high school friends came back from Vietnam in a frenetic PTSD mess.

  20. I was only a teenager when he stopped anchoring the evening news, but Walter Cronkite did mean something to me. He was an intelligent and fundamentally decent person. He made a difference. He made the United States of America a better place. Very few people can say that.

    He retired from the five-nights-a-week job in 1981, the year Reagan became president. (That was a hell of a lot to endure in one year!) Almost 30 years after Uncle Walter stopped being a day-to-day part of our lives, we mourn his passing. One of the good ones is gone, and he will be missed.

  21. Snark free zone here today. I am really sad that he’s gone, although he was really gone for over 25 years. Tee vee is not a perfect news medium, but during the Walter/Chet/David era, it was as good as it was ever going to get. That’s the way it is; to mark the passing of a real journalist, i am going to stop watching CNSMNFOXBC for the rest of my natural life, the end.

  22. [re=365580]Bearbloke[/re]: The Freepers are of courserepugnant….but that link is to a 2007 post. Not that anything has changed in Freeperland, so it might as well be to tonight’s cackling.

  23. [re=365569]Ken Layne[/re]: Sheesh Ken, thanks for reminding me that we will have to go through this all again when Kurt Loder dies.

  24. [re=365593]Lionel Hutz Esq.[/re]: But that will be nothing compared to when Carson Daly dies …. don’t even get me started on Jimmy Fallon! We won’t even call it “America” after that.

  25. He was 92 years old and not evil.
    Don’t let him be the Weekend Wonkette. This is going to degenerate into dick and fart jokes pretty quick.

  26. Cronkite was a professional journalist, but not the equal of Murrow, despite all the blather today to that effect. His show did not become the most popular evening newscast until after Nixon was President; Huntley & Brinkley were the leaders during the liberal Sixties. And there were journalists just as evil as O’Reilly back in the day — Walter Winchell, the Hearst posse and many, many others — they didn’t devolve recently. LBJ’s comment that if he lost Cronkite, he lost middle America pretty much summed up where Cronkite’s strength was — with Chevy driving, Lawrence Welk-and Nixon-loving folks. Cronkite clung to the old journalism myths of objectivity; journalism that pretended to be clueless led right to Happy Talk. Otoh, what Murrow did got lobotomized and turned into Fox News, just more proof that t.v. can turn anything into a Sham Wow. Sorry, but I can’t put Walter on my pedestal with Murrow, Studs Terkel, A.J. Liebling and Paul Krassner.

  27. [re=365591]DoktorZoom[/re]: Don’t worry, their opinions haven’t evolved with time. Here are some of todays threads from the Freepers. They would be funny if they were not about a great American who cared about his country and who has just died:

    Sample Comments:

    Where do traitors go when they die?

    Should have been shot for treason years ago he could have covered it till the order to fire was givin POS

    Should be Christian but, I’m so glad that this commie bastard’s dead. He has the blood of every man & woman who died in Vietnam on his hands. Hope he has a good explanation for St. Peter.

    Sample Comments:

    I regret that I did not write to him and tell him how MUCH I resent his LYING when reporting on the Vietnam War. He impacted my thinking as a very young teenager and I regret that we did not have Fox News then to balance out the SHIT that he said….I NEVER ONCE KNEW that we won EVERY SINGLE BATTLE THERE. I only knew about failure and body bags.
    I NOW know that WE the people CAUSED the deaths of millions in South Vietnam and Cambodia because of the FRIGGIN LIBERAL PRESS LYING to US about the WAR.

    We could have won the war and brought FREEDOM to a wonderful people.

    This man almost single-handedly lost the Vietnam War through a massive disinformation campaign to turn America’s victories into defeats (the Ted Offensive) and fabricate out of whole cloth Viet Cong victories that were used to demoralize the American public. He should be remembered as one of the great traitors of American history, right there along with Benedict Arnold.

    [Personally, I thought anyone who knew anything about Viet Nam was aware that the US won the Ted Offensive.]

    My comment is that he was a miserable liberal who did his best
    to hurt America. But he did try and hide it in the early years.


    I’m ticked that Fox interupted Laura Ingraham on BOR for this old liberal bag of air

    Millions (in Asia) died because of him.

    No one gets out alive, even the Commies who worship the State.

    For those too young to remember, this POS was ANTI WAR. With men in the field, he was an apologist for the communists. He was giddy after we had left the country in victory and busted out all our POWs but the North Vietnamese communists army invaded after the Democrats cut the money and supplies off to South Viet Nam. He was the first to cry out “ WE LOST THE WAR!!!” He was a traitor. He should have been tried, convicted and executed as such. Go to HELL you bastard.

    Sample Comments:

    Walter Cronkite is another one who had better have a VERY good drainage system around his grave site as there are millions of Viet Nam vests who are waiting patiently to water the flora an fauna in that immediate vicinity!

    Walter Cronkite was one of the principal architects of the liberal media whose commitment to ideology over objectivity made Obama’s election possible.

    Obama’s debt to Cronkite is greater than he knows.

    [Wow, Cronkite was so powerful that 27 years after he left his job, he was able to swing the election. Why did Cronkite hate Al Gore so?]

    Im not a Vietnam vet can i still piss on his grave and i gots some nasty piss

    Obama said. “… He invited us to believe in him, and he never let us down.”

    He let me down, he stabbed me in the back in 1968,
    I wouldn’t cross the street just to piss on his grave.
    It’s too bad too, I had hoped to see him and jane fonda
    on the same gibbet.

    **** President Barack Obama on Friday praised Walter Cronkite as a journalistic icon, calling the CBS anchor the “voice of certainty in an uncertain world,” who will be truly missed…. ******

    …like a bad case of the clap!

    [Apparently at Free Republic, you truly miss a bad case of the clap, who knew?]

    One can only imagine what these freaks will do when Jimmy Carter dies.

    But in the good news department, I guess we can look forward to Bill O’Reilly calling out these idiots and spending a couple of segments on it just the way he does when people on these internets point out that Sarah Palin is an idiot.

  28. Rachel and staff had prepared a fact check on Pat Buchanan’s statements on her show. They dumped it all in the trash to report on Cronkite’s death, because IRONY.

  29. [re=365569]Ken Layne[/re]: “Dude, is everything okay?”

    Someone interviewed David Broder a few years ago about his 200-year and still-active career, and part of it was about the Kennedy assassination. He was with Kennedy when it happened. Really WITH him, too — standing right near the president’s bloody boody, maybe one car back, in Texas. He told the interviewer that he remembered, “as an ordinary man,” wanting to hide and weep, but as a journalist, he quickly calmed himself down to report the events “in the most objective way possible” — meaning that his truest, most journalistically responsible reproduction of watching the popular young president getting shot and killed in a parade would reflect no personal shock or sadness or despair to the distant reader, on behalf of the witness.

    It’s always struck me as strange that Cronkite’s much different presentation would, by an accepted set of rules defining journalistic objectivity, be considered anything other than the fairest or most truthful.

  30. Compare Walter Cronkite’s idea of what his job entailed, it’s important role in a democracy, to David Gregory’s comment “that’s not our job,” when referring to the assertion that his job should entail hounding a lying president and telling us when the president is lying.

    I feel confident in saying that Walter Cronkite would never stoop so low as to sing backup to Karl Rove as our boys were dying in a war Rove helped lie us into.

  31. [re=365600]lawrenceofthedesert[/re]: Absolutely. The sixties Wonketteers would have made fun of Cronkite’s pompousness. Still, in retrospect, a golden era (and we were young then, also).

  32. [re=365594]Ken Layne[/re]: Don’t say such things. Jimmy Fallon will be too busy breaking character and laughing at his own jokes to ever die.

  33. When Cronkite ran that damned It’s the xxxth day of captivity for the American spies Hostages in Iran I knew it was throwing the election to Steve Bechtel and his trained Monkeys and what’s his name, oh yeah, Reagan, all of whom raped and pillaged the nation like crazed Martians drunk on GalaxiSterno, and it’s been steeply downhill ever since.

    I never forgave him for that, especially after we learned it was a set-up with the arms for spies deal and contragate, etc. i grew up on Uncle Walt but he saddled us with that greaseball Reagan crook, then retired!!?!

    I never forgave him, but I loved him as Capt Neweyes in ‘We’re Back’.

    I watched that with my kids when they were tykes about 50 times, great memories, I loved him in that.

    If you want to remember Cronkite fondly, do NOT read Manufacturing Consent, rent ‘We’re Back’ instead.

  34. When Connie Chung was hired to co-anchor with Dan Rather Cronkite made up and sang to her a little sea shanty that started with “Watch your back, Connie, watch your back now…”

  35. I am also old enough to remember when tv had only 3 channels and the people who brought you the news weren’t plasticized entertainers but actual newsmen(sorry, I think the only women then were weather girls). Lionboy and Ken in their comments said what I would like to say- if I could write.

  36. Walter Cronkite and the entire crew of reporters (Murrow, Edwards, Trout, et al) were the reason CBS was termed “The Tiffany Network.”

  37. Oh, screw all this waxing nostalgic for reality, people! We have our own news icons to revere. Whom among us will ever forget where they were when Katie Couric said “Navy SEALs rock!” Or when Shep Smith reminded us that, for the four hundredth day, Natalee Holloway was still dead. Buck up, viewers. Oceana has always been at war with Eurasia!

  38. He knew when to retire, and how to retire. I used to see him cruising the Maine coast in a sleek sailboat; wish I could remember the name of it. So long, sailor.

  39. I can still clearly remember Daddy shouting from the family room, “Y’all come in here,” as Cronkite began to report on Kennedy’s assassination.

    So passes one of the last icons of the days when America had a functioning press…

  40. “Lascauxcaveman says at 9:01 pm, July 17th, 2009
    – Reply

    Lionel Hutz Esq.: Interesting factoid: the German word for “illness” is krankheit.

    (Pronounced the same way as Cronkite.)”

    Meanwhile, from freeperland:
    “To: Extremely Extreme Extremist
    Cronkite is pronounced the same as krankheit, a German word meaning illness.
    7 posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 10:36:45 PM”

    Anything you want to tell us, Caveman? Or should I call you EXTREMELY EXTREME EXTREMIST?!?!?!

  41. I edited 3 books he wrote w/Ray Ellis (one of his friends and an artist) @ sailing the intercoastal waterway and both coasts. He was very remarkably easy to work with, for an author. My first impression of him was how short he was… Why do people always look taller on tv? My dad wouldn’t watch anyone else for the national news. His wife is a hoot! fun to gossip with.

    Our Sarah’s right: this must be the time to die if your famous…

  42. [re=365623]getoffmylawn[/re]: Yep, back then the news was not 100% pwned. Sure it was 95% owned but at least they had a place at the table, not like todays ‘news readers’.

    Walter Cronkite (Model T – Irrelevance of the US auto industry), Lived and reported the American Century, RIP.

  43. I saw Cronkite as he was meant to be seen: on a black and white TV with a roundish screen and rabbit ears on top.

    And stuck in rows of desks along with all of my little classmates, I watched all of the ‘You Are There’ films in elementary school.

    Despite what you may hear, the ’50’s and ’60’s were incredibly anxious times; I remember when I was little, during the Cuban missile crisis, our Lutheran Minnesotan pastor preaching about nuclear war and were we ready if these were to be the last days of the world?

    I remember after being put to bed standing at my windowsill in the dark and looking up into the sky and praying ‘Please don’t let the bombs fall tonight please don’t let the bombs fall tonight…’

    During the ’60’s, it seemed as if we had daily assassinations in the living room after supper, followed by scenes of the teenagers on my block suddenly on my TV carrying guns through the jungle and being shot. And huge riots, and cars on fire, and police: Officer Friendly! Bludgeoning people and turning hoses on people and sic’ing huge German Shepherds on people who were defenseless.

    That was what it took to change the country into a better place, in the end, but at the time, it seemed as if everything was falling apart and really evil things were happening.

    Walter Cronkite brought all of those images to us, and he was comforting. We needed comforting.

    I’m sorry. That’s the best I can do. I think he was a force for good, mostly. I hope I can do as well.

  44. I used to fix teletypes back when data communications was a part of our infrastructure that was completely invisible to the general public. When someone asked me what I did, the Rosetta Stone was that I could say I fixed the thing that went “clunk-clunk-clunk” on the Walter Cronkite show.

  45. Don’t know if someone has already mentioned this, but he was forced to
    retire at age 65 because of corporate policy. He wanted to stay on.
    Ageism at its’ worst!

  46. [re=365550]MzNicky[/re]: Correction: if I’m not mistaken, it was Rather himself who referred to the thugs on the floor, not Walter. I could be wrong, but I have seen the tape in recent months, and I’m sure it looks as if Rather is playing ace reporter among a bunch of Dailey duds and says so.

  47. [re=365569]Ken Layne[/re]: Something to remember: While it’s true that you won’t see a Walter Cronkite type of national newsman again, nobody had seen one before he anchored the CBS evening news, either.

    Beg to differ. Edward R Murrow, who took on the Big Buffoon McCarthy. Walter took on no one, except tepidly LBJ after fifty thousand dead or so, plus upwards of a million Vietnamese, and in a time when it was safe to do so. I’ll take door number 1, where someone tells me what’s right at some expense.

  48. I can’t help wondering how a Cronkite would have handled that single, one-hour primetime chance to nail the truth out of Larry Craig two years ago, and that Matt Lauer so spectacularly blew.

  49. Cronkite was an inspiration for some of us growing up in the 70s. He represented the steady, voice of God, version of the news….while Woodward and Bernstein represented the rock and roll side of things. Thow in Mary Richards and my future was set in stone. I was going to make a difference, uncover things, open people’s eyes and make the world a better place. All while wearing cute mini-skirts and turning the world on with my smile.

    Thank you, Mr. Cronkite. You set a standard (whether real or not) that inspired a lot of us to get into journalism because we thought finding out the truth about things was important.

  50. [re=365603]Jim Newell[/re]: I think there were as many journalists “one car back” during the assassination of JFK as there have been past-life travelers at the crucifixation. However, Zapruder’s home movie shows nothing but Secret Service and LBJ and the like “one car back.” Plus there is no more evidence of Broder’s emotional connection to JFK than mine to Michael Jackson, and I could very dispassionately report on the death of that little freak.

  51. [re=365643]Bowdoin[/re]: Ahem.

    “When he saw CBS floor correspondent Dan Rather get punched in the stomach at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, Cronkite’s voice shook with rage as he said, ‘I think we’ve got a bunch of thugs here, Dan.’ It was a rare display of undisguised wrath, and Cronkite later said he regretted it because a news anchor should be “above the battle.”,0,4276121.story (scroll to end of “Recruited by Morrow” subsection.)

  52. [re=365642]Guppy06[/re]: Maybe. Rowan & Martin’s “Laugh-in” and the Smothers Brothers did some political humor back in Cronkite’s day.

  53. [re=365648]Bowdoin[/re]: All of my relatives who lived through the Kennedy assassination were affected by it emotionally. I’m guessing you had to be there. I’m also guessing Broder had more respect for Kennedy than you did for that “little freak” MJ.

  54. He got me hooked on news ‘n stuff with his old show, “The 20th Century”. He was da man back then, a time when the even the stupid aspired to appear smart. Today the stupid cheer each other on without people like Walter to call them out.

    So long, old sailor.

  55. He was from the day when there were newsmen, not manicured newsreaders. The only comparable thing I’ve seen during recent history was Robert Young Pelton’s brilliant hospital interview of John Walker Lindh, the American captured in Afghanistan. And mebbe that Aussie, Michael “Horn Dog,” Ware.

  56. [re=365627]bitchincamaro[/re]: Cronkite wanted to continue at least a couple more years. CBS pushed him out, wanted someone younger than the 65-year-old Cronkite in 1981.

    [re=365615]skutre[/re]: Ted Koppel died, too? Oh no!

  57. [re=365648]Bowdoin[/re]: David Broder is a useless suckup to power, his nose perpetually brown with feces, either of those in office or his own, since his droppings apparently remind him of roses. The only way he belongs in a sentence with Murrow, Cronkite or Kennedy is as an example of how to not to be like them, either in terms of work or class.

  58. If Sean Hannity loved his country as much as he says he does, he would die in Walt’s stead. All of you olds recall what he did, which is really just saddening, because we used to be “nice and simple.” Now us libtard folk have to rely on THE LIBERAL MSM etc., which is just annoying and stupid.

    As much as I “harr harr” with the political understanding my family elders have, or the grasp of information for an entire era between 1950-1995 (that includes YOU, Mr. Clinton), the News was the News. That was it. I wont bitch and moan about the changes anymore (because I would be contradicting my jawb), but the not-level of integrity that many of you affirm with 24 hour people is just too right-on.

    How will we sacrifice the fuckers to bring Cronkite back?

  59. Cronkite’s 1964 interview with Eisenhower in Normandy is absolutely amazing. Megyn Kelly’s 2023 interview in Baghdad with George W. Bush will, I am pretty sure, come off poorly by comparison.

  60. [re=365569]Ken Layne[/re]: Sheesh! I don’t remember you getting this philosophical when Paul Harvey died. I’m beginning to detect a subtle liberal bias on Wonkette. Better have Politico look into that for you.

    As to Cronkite: good guy. And what really impresses me about watching these old newscasts is how calm they are. You could hear yourself think. It’s tragic how insufferably busy the news has become.

  61. [re=365569]Ken Layne[/re]:

    Just WOW.

    I’m actually a little shocked that none of the Right Wing Noise Machine has decried him as ‘The Man Who Lost The Vietnam War’, but it’s still the weekend.

  62. [re=365622]finallyhappy[/re]: Not only were there only three channels, but the teevees didn’t have remote controls, so you had to get up, walk a few steps, and turn a knob on the teevee to change the channel, which was a burdensome chore for us lazy Americans, so we tended to pick a favorite channel and watch it for a few hours. I grew up watching Walter, but I have to confess that it was partly because he had the CBS timeslot immediately preceding “Truth or Consequences” with Bob Barker.

  63. [re=365674]Alpha O. Mega[/re]: I still have a Tv . It is a black and white portable, has rabbit ears and the knob you turn to change the channel. I haven’t used it for a long time and am getting ready to recycle it at the County transfer station(after I offer it as a prop to some local theater groups). Remember when Outer Limits used to say (paraphrase here) “Do not attempt to change the vertical, do not try to fix the horizontal” it has those little knobs too.

  64. [re=365600]lawrenceofthedesert[/re]: You make an important point. Cronkite WASN’T Murrow. But he did have that little segment at the end of his show where Eric Sevareid was actually allowed to speak his mind. That counts. Sevareid worked side-by-side with Murrow in London during the Blitz and he had the same same definitions of right and wrong. He was friends with Adlai Stevenson and, unlike almost everyone, was skeptical of the goodness of the Eisenhower Era. He carried that skepticism into the sixties where he was first and foremost a questioner of everything that came out of the Nixon White House. Sevareid held people’s feet to the fire and Cronkite let him do it. In a way, he allowed Cronkite to BE “Uncle Walter” in the classic “good cop/bad cop” mode. People forget about the great Eric Sevareid but he was the most important part of Uncle Walter’s broadcasts. It again just goes to prove that what the “silent majority” seeks most passionately is not truth but likability. Uncle Walter certainly had that and combined with gravitas made him unforgettable to the masses who knew him.

  65. Robert McNamara – dead in 2009.

    Walter Cronkite – dead in 2009.

    McNamara, I hope somebody, somewhere will forgive you for what you did.

    And Walter, when I think about the state of journalism today, I weep. You were the last of a great generation. Requiescat in pace.

  66. One of the few things I’m proud of from my Mormon side of the family is that my grandmother’s eldest brother was Les Midgely, Cronkite’s producer/writer from 1967 until 1972. Hearing his name mentioned on Cronkite’s NPR specials was always a pleasure (they hadn’t yet started until after Les died).

    I didn’t know the man well. The family wasn’t close. But Cronkite at least allowed a fallen Mormon to speak out for what is right in the world, condemning the Warren Commission and covering the JFK assassination with real aptitude. To say nothing of strident critiques of the Vietnam War.

    No. Cronkite was not Ed Murrow. He was more reflective. He was more nuanced. He did what he felt the thinking people of the country needed. For that he shall be missed.

  67. And in one fell comment thread, we learn that the wonketteers are a bunch of olds. I, too, remember Unka Walt fondly, but the end of the show was also a reminder that it was time for bed. (Which makes me an old, too, just not as old.)

    He set the standard for taking the news seriously. It has been downhill ever since.

  68. [re=365753]jbd[/re]: Oh, and although I didn’t attend, Cronkite apparently did a truly tear-jerking bang-up job at Les’s funeral. Kinda wish I had a recording. At least a transcript.

    He shall be missed.

  69. Oh yeah, Walter Cronkite was that teevee guy who no one talked about for the last 20 years. Man, I’m gonna miss that guy. Just like that chick who was in that show about the funny old ladies. What was her name again? Was it like, Farrah or something?

  70. For clarification, just in case someone needs it, I mean no disrespect to Walter. Isn’t it just a bitch that no one really gives a fuck until someone’s dead?

  71. Can’t get snarky about Uncle Walter, when he signed off with “that’s the way it is” you believed him. I was just a kid but I took it very seriously back then. If you’re old enough, remember what TV news could be, and could be again. If you’re not that old you’ve got a chance to make a difference.

  72. [re=365647]chascates[/re]: I couldn’t find a video of his show to confirm my memory, but I think we heard the sound of Model 15 Teletypes (favored by the wire services) operating at a blistering 60 words per minute – 45.5 bits per second, Baudot 5-level code. I’d like to think they were using state of the art Model 28s @ 74.2 bits per second for 100wpm, but I don’t think so.

  73. It’s so strange to remember how I got my information fix growing up in the ’70s. The Houston Post in the morning (first task was to check Cesar Cedenyo’s batting average) and the CBS Evening News at 5:30pm. That was it, apart from weekly or monthly magazines. Which of course was why the evening news was so hugely important then. There wasn’t anything else. It’s difficult to emphasize that enough. A morning or evening paper & the evening news. Compare that to all we have now, right at our fingertips.

  74. [re=365796]ZombieRichardFeynman[/re]: One of the greatest moments of my nerd life was auditioning at WBAA radio at Purdue and setting my eyes on that teletype machine spitting out information almost 24/7. I was so excited I nearly peed my pants, and I think their model must’ve been about 40 years old (it was already 1987.) I got the unpaid job and hung around early and late just to read all the news coming in. Hard to describe how fucking cool that little machine was!

  75. [re=365740]Jukesgrrl[/re]: I totally agree that Sevareid was a class act and a fine journalist, and your good cop/bad cop analogy regarding him and Cronkite is spot-on.

  76. [re=365800]hobospacejunkie[/re]: And picture how fun it was to be reading a bank of these spitting out electronic intercepts from Russia, North Korea or the VC (I was at each intercept duty station at one time or another) on the way to NSA for analysis. There was/is a lot of data out there for the grabbing…like trying to drink the ocean through a soda straw. Now we have computers to help, but the volume has gone up exponentially. Beware the dreaded Tempest Hazard!

  77. [re=365800]hobospacejunkie[/re]:, Zombie, et al: Count me as one of the teletype lovers. We had one at the journalism school I attended pre-computers and it was so amazing seeing all that information rolling out all day and all night. The romance of all those datelines was intoxicating. We’re so spoiled now; the magic has dissipated.

  78. [re=365818]Jukesgrrl[/re]: We had a transistor radio at home with a generic short-wave channel. It was always a thrill to hear “This is the World Service of the BBC” or to hear a flat-toned woman reading the news from Moscow. Teh kidz today can’t grasp the exoticism with which my generation viewed the world. Vietnam, not so exotic: “the Army lets you see the world, meet new people — and kill them.”

  79. RIP Walter. Mr. Cronkite represents a now gone era when news reporters were real journalists with integretity, who attempted to tell the truth, at least as they saw it. Mr. Cronkite was highly regarded bc he did his “homework” to back up his news casts. He wasn’t some dimbulb talking head spewing “talking points” fed to him by his corporate masters. Nor was he some weirdo psychopath hired to “entertain” certain portions of the population; they used to use real clowns for that “job.”

    I have read that since his retirement, Mr. Cronkite has been pained and saddened by what passes for “news” these days, as well he should. It is mostly all a joke w/just a few outlets providing anything that resembles what Mr. Cronkite used to do.

    Too bad, too, bc conservatives will try to claim him as “one of their own,” but then will immediately turn on Faux Noise & Fatso Limberger and attempt the cognitive dissonance of equating those two giant steaming piles w/the gracious intelligence & personal integrity & quest for journalistic truth that was Mr. Cronkite.

    It was around the time that Mr. Cronkite retired that conservatives, led by asswipes like Pat Buchanon, Dickbreath Cheney, et al, worked hard to turn the “news” into what it is today. They led the charge by endlessly repeating the mantra that the media is “librul” and therefore flawed. If Cronkite was attempting to report news today, he would be flamed by the right as being too librul and biased. But we all know that reality has a liberal bias…

    SIGH. RIP. /snark back on…

  80. Wow! Thanks for reporting this. I had turned on CNN and I though “Gee, Michael Jackson is looking older and whiter and when did he grow that mustache.” Now I understand. So other dude died. What a coincidence.

  81. I’m not sure if anyone has voiced this thought yet . . .

    . . . but perhaps the saddest part of this whole thing was the fact that Cronkite’s death was reported by some “bubbled-headed bleach-blonde” named “Katie Couric” . . . .

    (And yes, I know I stole that from “Dirty Laundry.”)

  82. Day Three: Walter Cronkite still dead. Christians aghast, Pope shits his purple diapers. And that’s the way it is, Monday, July 20, 2009.

    Urinalism goes 24×7! Tune in tomorrow, any time, any station, any country, any language. Long live Sir Rupert of Mordor.

  83. [re=365849]Neilist[/re]: Yep, she can sure tell ya ’bout the plane crash with a gleam in her CBS eye. It’s interesting when people die, Katie Couric, it’s fucking interesting.

  84. /snark off

    I still get so moved watching the clip of him choking up when announcing Kennedy had died, and his giggly “Oh, boy!” (but otherwise speechless reaction) at the landing on the moon; especially so when those 2 clips are juxtaposed. Talk about extremes of the human experience…

  85. [re=365617]shortsshortsshorts[/re]: I think it actually died somewhere in the mid-90s, but masqueraded, Weekend at Bernie’s-style, until now. Now may it be buried and rest in peace. Although actually, a giant TV News truth zombie rising from the grave and tearing apart Roger Ailes would be pretty awesome.

  86. [re=365635]PJ[/re]: Yup, as you said, “That was what it took to change the country into a better place, in the end,”

    Unfortunately, so many of the things that made the U.S. a better place were wiped out under various Republican regimes. It will take at least a generation to undo the damage wrought by Bush/Cheney both at home and abroad. And since the repair will take so long, Obama will be blamed for not fixing it immediately and then we’ll get the Republicans back. Oh dread.

  87. Bill O’Reilly did the first part of his show talking about how much journalism has declined since Cronkite left the air, because of the liberal bias in the media. O’Reilly and Bernard Goldberg then talked about how much better it’d be if the media was unbiased (O’Reilly complained that while he was at CBS, he was always being told to interject things into his reports that he didn’t think were relevant, and Goldberg talked about how in the Reagan-era reports on the homeless always made them look good, and how the media kept pushing the idea of a heterosexual AIDS epidemic that never materialized), and then both complained about how no one in the media is questioning how Obama is bankrupting the country with his spending proposals. Also, later in the show tonight, there will a segment on how the Make-A-Wish Foundation is rejecting money from a bikini carwash, complete with footage of girl in bikinis washing cars. Also.

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