As far as I’m concerned, the name Walter Cronkite is the first and the last that I think of when it comes to television news. When my father refused to allow anything other than news to be shown on his TV, this was the man he watched. When it came to all of the important world events of my youth, he was the man who told me about them. And when it comes to anything ‘new’ in television news, his work is what I compare it to.
But beyond just setting the standard for all would-be TV anchormen, Walter Cronkite also pushed the bar higher when it comes to courage in broadcasting. Not only did he speak out against the Vietnam War, he did the same with many other issues where today’s corporately-ensnared, ratings-driven news outlets fear to tread, such as America’s catastrophically failed ‘drug war.’
Since his time, I can think of only three that even come close: Hugh Downs, Ted Koppel, and John Stossel. They’ve already gotten rid of the first two. I can only pray for the last.
It’s funny to think that this guy actually joked that he might have been a pretty fair broadcaster had he taken the time to get some speech training. Can you imagine Walter Cronkite speaking in that too polished and too perfect news-speak they all use today? I don’t even want to try.
I want ice water.