Walter Cronkite mourned by media colleagues as historic figure

Thomas Lifson
Walter Cronkite's family, friends, and broadcasting compatriots deserve our sympathy. May he rest in peace, and may those who miss him find solace in the worshipful media coverage. He appeared to be a very nice man, someone whose avuncular presence on the screen seemed to reflect a personality that combined warmth and strength.

That said, I am disturbed by the tone and volume of coverage afforded his passing, particularly by his own colleagues appearing on television news outlets. Perhaps in mourning him, they are also mourning the decline and fall of television news. The reverence with which the words "America's most trusted man" are repeatedly invoked suggest a nagging comprehension that almost nobody trusts TV news any more.

In the pre-cable era, three broadcast networks divided the TV news audience, and "Uncle Walter's" folksy approach drew viewers away from the Huntley-Brinkley report on NBC. He became the single most influential man in the news business, whose furled brow signaled disapproval of the subject matter of a story. That is the sort of status that now is unreachable by his successors.

Lee Cary described well the real influence Walter Cronkite had on the nation's destiny early last year. His article is being re-posted today as an AT classic in memory of Walter's passing.

All criticism aside, Walter Cronkite seemed a good and decent man, calling them as he saw them. He is not some sort of villain. But he is not a saintly figure either. May he rest in peace.
Walter Cronkite's family, friends, and broadcasting compatriots deserve our sympathy. May he rest in peace, and may those who miss him find solace in the worshipful media coverage. He appeared to be a very nice man, someone whose avuncular presence on the screen seemed to reflect a personality that combined warmth and strength.

That said, I am disturbed by the tone and volume of coverage afforded his passing, particularly by his own colleagues appearing on television news outlets. Perhaps in mourning him, they are also mourning the decline and fall of television news. The reverence with which the words "America's most trusted man" are repeatedly invoked suggest a nagging comprehension that almost nobody trusts TV news any more.

In the pre-cable era, three broadcast networks divided the TV news audience, and "Uncle Walter's" folksy approach drew viewers away from the Huntley-Brinkley report on NBC. He became the single most influential man in the news business, whose furled brow signaled disapproval of the subject matter of a story. That is the sort of status that now is unreachable by his successors.

Lee Cary described well the real influence Walter Cronkite had on the nation's destiny early last year. His article is being re-posted today as an AT classic in memory of Walter's passing.

All criticism aside, Walter Cronkite seemed a good and decent man, calling them as he saw them. He is not some sort of villain. But he is not a saintly figure either. May he rest in peace.