Cronkite signed off 40 years ago; it seems like an eon in news standards

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Walter Cronkite – Getty Images

By Jeffrey M. McCall

The Hill

March 7, 2021

It was 40 years ago on March 6 that news anchor Walter Cronkite signed off “The CBS Evening News” for the final time, stating his tag line, “That’s the way it is.” The phrase was more than just a signature ending of his nightly newscast. It was a statement that his newscast was designed to, as he put it, “hold up the mirror — to tell and show the public what has happened.”

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Yes indeed. Allen Dulles’ (CIA director from 1953 to 1961) favourite anchor man. It was Dulles who brokered a deal with Washington Post and CBS News, giving the WaPo total ownership of CBS stations at the time. WTOP, a CBS affiliate hired Walter. Dulles’ contact with CBS was Sig Mickelson, Walter Cronkites’ first mentor at CBS.

    Appearing trustworthy is nothing like being trustworthy.

  2. I remember watching the “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite” and “The 20th Century” a documentary series voiced by Walter Cronkite on KVOS 12 Bellingham as a youngster.

    From the second world onward he seemed to cover every major news event in the U.S. and often report from overseas (Vietnam reports on the evening news).

    LBJ knew he couldn’t win an election once Walter Cronkite did an editorial saying that the U.S. should get out of Vietnam).

    He reported on –
    JFK, MLk, RFK shootings.
    The space race and moon landings.
    The middle east conflicts.
    civil unrest, Vietnam protests.
    Political conventions, Watergate.

    Type Walter Cronkite in the search box on You Tube and you’ll find every thing you could possible want to see featuring him.

    Was he trusted by the public? It would seem so…Was he trust worthy? Only those who knew him well would know the answer to that question.

  3. @Peter. Heroe are like wieners. You should never really examine the ingredients lest you be dissappointed at the contents.

    Cronkite lied about the Tet Offensive. A lie does not serve the public and a man capable of lying given such a platform, is a man that can never be trusted.
    Sure, his delivery was great and he served his masters well. It’s a winning formula you see. The same formula used by Chief Medical Officers these day, however, modernized with updated NLP and other findings that have arisen from the Tavistock Institute and those 3 letter experiments done in Montreal back in the 60’s and 70’s. You know. The ones Cronkite never reported on.

    Alas, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”

  4. Should someone choose to dig into any of our lives they would find the flaws common to humanity… Our human nature is wired that way.
    We are all far from perfect . All we can hope for is that there is forgiveness and understanding when a flaw is exposed. Hopefully our positives out weigh the negatives on balance.
    Our imperfections should remind us to not throw stones – Some day someone might throw a stone or two at us.
    History can be unkind to a person’s reputation – JFK comes to mind. All we can do is ensure we are not living down to our worst impulses.

  5. @Peter. I am not faulting Cronkites abilities to read the news and tell a story. He was indeed one of the best.
    I am faulting Cronkites abilities to maintain integrity. His willingness to lie and mislead and to not disclose those relationships that have every bearing on the reporting and editorializing that he did. These are flaws common in humanity of course, but they are flaws that are supposedly vetted for the position he had, at least we are to believe our newsmen and newswomen are supposed to be vetted for not having the temerity to lie to our faces.
    Tell me Peter, are you O.K. with the news telling you a lie? Are you going to say “Oh, that’s fine, nobody is perfect” No. The “dig into our lives” excuse just does not cut it.
    Cronkite was a great voice and broadcast presence, he was a broadcaster with a serious lack of integrity. Not exactly “Great Man” material.

    Now Peter, I understand that a lot of people think that I go too far when it comes to digging down into things. However, I am not talking about people telling embelishement to their friends or strangers. We do not accept our physicians or lawyers orjudges or accountants to lie to us, why would we accept our newspeople to lie to us. They are supposed to be a pillar of our democracy, or so they tell us. I am not sure, because they lie.
    Democracy is as important to me as my health, my legal and my financial affairs so yes, the broadcast man and woman is held to a high standard. I won’t accept lies from them and I won’t celebrate the the lying media celebrities past and present. They are a cancer upon our society.

  6. We seem to be living in a “post truth” environment. Too often there aren’t agreed upon norms. Everything is countered with “alternate facts” what ever those might be.

    Any reporter: local, regional or national should deal only with the facts of a story and leave the editorials to others – or clearly state that what is being said is an editorial.
    Hopefully that reporter is honest and reports in a fair and balanced way – striving to get both sides of the story.
    Cronkite’s flaws most likely would not stand today… In a 24 hour news cycle and instant media he’d most likely would be out of a job as soon as he was found to be less than forthright and honest.

    Political types should be held to a similarly high standard as reporters:
    Speak the truth, tell things as they are, not what sounds good to their electors or political bosses.

    It seems that there are many in the halls of power – on both sides of the isle in Canada and the U.S. – Who are only there for powers sake; they’ll say and do almost anything to keep them selves there. There should be a way to change that.

    In Cronkites case he was powerful – being watched by millions every week night . And power can corrupt. And in the case of political leaders absolute power can corrupt absolutely.

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