Friday, July 17, 2009

Walter Cronkite, 1916-2009. R.I.P.

Legendary CBS News Anchor Walter Cronkite died this evening. He was 92.

He is best known as the anchor of the CBS Evening News, a position he held from 1962 until his retirement in 1981.

It was Cronkite who told the world that President Kennedy had died on November 22, 1963 with tears in his eyes.

Less than five years later he declared the Vietnam War could not be won.

Of course, I was not yet born. But I am old enough to remember when he read the news. I would have been no more than four or five years old. But I would remember him leading with, "President Carter today...." and not understanding anything else he said until the time came for him to say "and that's the way it is...." Even as a child I recognized both a resonant and reassuring tone in his voice. This as much as anything else was the key to his enduring appeal.

In recent years, Cronkite was far more vocal in his support of liberalism. He wrote an open letter to Democratic Presidential standard bearer John Kerry in 2004 chastising him for being unwilling to embrace his inner liberal. In 2006, echoing his sentiments on Vietnam nearly three decades earlier, he declared the War in Iraq was also unwinnable.

Cronkite was not a fan of the Fox News Channel and appeared in Robert Greenwald's 2004 documentary Outfoxed to condemn the network. However, this did not prevent the Fox News Channel from dedicating Greta Van Susteren's program this evening on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission in Cronkite's memory due to his passion for space exploration.

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