Nov. 4, 1916 — July 17, 2009
Walter Cronkite once said, ”Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy.” That wry sense of humor was classic Cronkite. But beneath the witty comparison, there’s evidence of his unwavering commitment to reporting the news accurately, fairly, and responsibly. His children told me at his memorial service that he didn’t even share his opinions with them, lest he put them in a compromising position at some point. And on the rare occasions he did express his opinions, as he did when he spoke out against the Vietnam War or explained the intricacies of Watergate, they had a tremendous impact. It’s easy to look back on his time in the anchor chair as the halcyon days of broadcast news, but I’m not sure that’s how Walter would see it. Undoubtedly, the proliferation of opinion shows on cable and online would give him pause, but Walter was never one to dwell on ”the good old days.” Instead, he would likely call on those of us who are carrying his torch to see the power and potential of all the new tools of our trade, but never lose sight of the primary objective: a search for truth.
Cronkite died of cerebrovascular disease in NYC.