“And that’s the way it is: July 17, 2009.”July 18, 2009 - Author: newscoma - Comments are closed
“Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy magazine.”Walter Cronkite
When I was a kid, my grandfather who I called Dee, requested (aka made) me watch the Watergate hearings. And at night, we watched Walter Cronkite recap the days events.
I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ house in Dresden when I was a child. Homer and I would come home after school and usually my grandmother, Mable (see a coincidence here) usually had Days of Our Lives. My grandfather worked for the Post Office and he was a bit of a news junkie. Watching Cronkite at night was a given. We knew that his face would grace the screen for 30 minutes at night.
I saw on Twitter last night some of the younger (ahem) people I follow writing about how they knew of the legend of Cronkite but had never really seen him except as a history lesson in journalism. I slept on that and realized this morning that’s exactly how I knew Edward R. Murrow.
Those trusted figures defined television news in a time when credibility wasn’t sought but it just was. Cronkite didn’t yell at us like some anchors do these days. He didn’t pontificate. He told of us men walking on the moon, he reported from his simple newsdesk at CBS about Vietnam and defining times that set in our minds even today the path of this country. He was more than an anchor as he had also been a correspondent before he took the desk. He knew he was there to report the story and not to pontificate about it.
Cronkite had grace. We trusted him and he worked hard for that trust by being transparent. He was never a part of any one story, like you see today. He was just the guy who gave us the news as he knew it. And we believed him.
But Cronkite will always remind me of my grandfather, who died before Cronkite retired, and who watched him everyday without fail. He was revered by generations that watched him and I find that those people who came later realized that he had something special.
What was special about this humble man was he just told us the news of the day and he perfected respected journalism.
As the celebrity death cull continues in Aught Nine, his death was not unexpected but it cuts nonetheless.
For so many of us, he was our Uncle Walter and his death and integrity leaves a powerful dark hole in this country.