Friday, July 17, 2009

"Uncle Walter" Died Today


Everybody's "Uncle Walter", radio and television reporter extraordinaire Walter Cronkite, died today at the age of 92.  All of America mourns this great loss. President Obama should declare a period of national mourning and Walter should lie in State in the US Capitol.

As I was growing up, my parents would watch the national news on the CBS television, anchored by this now late, great American. He explained Sputnik, the Cuban Revolution, the Space Race, the Nuclear Arms Race, the Vietnam War and Americans landing on the Moon. He was there when President Kennedy died, President Nixon resigned, Martin Luther King died and so many of the important events in the last sixty years. His explanations of the events of the day were always clear, concise and unbiased. Without a doubt, he was the most trusted person in America.  When he said something, all of America believed it.  Today's reporters and anchors are but a small candle compared to the carbon arc light of his journalistic expertise and presence.

Walter took his experience in radio journalism and as a war reporter, and used it to define what television journalism should be and was during his tenure at the CBS anchor desk, The sad thing is that none of today's television journalists measure up to the mark Walter set. Walter's political leanings were only barely visible when he reported the events of the day. In contrast, the politics of today's reporters smashes you in the face as you watch their broadcasts. Television news is no longer fair, objective and balanced.

I remember the days leading up to the scrubbed launch of the first Space Shuttle, STS-1, on April 10, 1981. I was the driver for a small "background report" news organization and had press credentials for the event at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. All of the big name television, radio and print reporters were there. Of the television reporters, only Walter Cronkite took the time to talk with with us little folk. When the mission scrubbed on Friday, he was the only big name who kept his cool and composure. That first Space Shuttle finally launched on Sunday, April 12.

Who will fill this great man's very large shoes?

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