UPDATED: Some excerpts from AP (via Bangor Daily News) of his career:
A former wire service reporter and war correspondent, he valued accuracy, objectivity and understated compassion. He expressed liberal views in more recent writings but said he had always aimed to be fair and professional in his judgments on the air.
After the 1968 Tet offensive, he visited Vietnam and wrote and narrated a “speculative, personal” report advocating negotiations leading to the withdrawal of American troops.
“We have been too often disappointed by the optimism of the American leaders, both in Vietnam and Washington, to have faith any longer in the silver linings they find in the darkest clouds,” he said, and concluded, “We are mired in stalemate.”
After the broadcast, President Lyndon B. Johnson reportedly said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America.”
He got a taste of journalism at The Houston Post, where he worked summers after high school and served as campus correspondent at the University of Texas. He also did some sports announcing at a local radio station.
Cronkite quit school after his junior year for a full-time job with the Houston Press. After a brief stint at KCMO in Kansas City, Mo., he joined United Press in 1937.
Dispatched to London early in World War II, Cronkite covered the battle of the North Atlantic, flew on a bombing mission over Germany and glided into Holland with the 101st Air-borne Division. He was a chief correspondent at the postwar Nuremberg trials and spent his final two years with the news service managing its Moscow bureau.
Cronkite returned to the United States in 1948 and covered Washington for a group of Midwest radio stations. He then accepted Edward R. Murrow’s invitation to join CBS in 1950.
Cronkite joined CBS in 1950, after a decade with United Press, during which he covered World War II and the Nuremberg trials, and a brief stint with a regional radio group.
In 1977, Cronkite conducted a two-way interview in which he got Sadat to say he wanted to go to Israel if invited and then got Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to say Sadat was invited if he wanted to come. Sadat’s trip was a major step in Middle East peace efforts, and the leaders of the two nations received the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize.
Walter Cronkite, who personified television journalism for more than a generation as anchor and managing editor of the “CBS Evening News,” has died Friday night in New York. He was 92.
Known for his steady and straightforward delivery, his trim moustache, and his iconic sign-off line -“That’s the way it is” – Cronkite dominated the television news industry during one of the most volatile periods of American history. He broke the news of the Kennedy assassination, reported extensively on Vietnam and Civil Rights and Watergate, and seemed to be the very embodiment of TV journalism.
“Cronkite came to be the sort of personification of his era,” veteran PBS Correspondent Robert McNeil once said. “He became kind of the media figure of his time. Very few people in history, except maybe political and military leaders, are the embodiment of their time, and Cronkite seemed to be.”
At one time, his audience was so large, and his image so credible, that a 1972 poll determined he was “the most trusted man in America” – surpassing even the president, vice president, members of Congress and all other journalists. In a time of turmoil and mistrust, after Vietnam and Watergate, the title was a rare feat – and the label stuck.
More below…To watch these Youtube clips of some of Cronkite’s work is surreal, starting with a famous one: the assassination of President John F Kennedy.
On this 40th anniversary weekend of Apollo 11 landing on the moon, it seems fitting to share this retrospective Cronkite and others did of that moment in history.
And this clip, of a year earlier as Cronkite broke the story of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.