Saturday, July 18, 2009

Uncle Walter

For those of you who haven't looked at a paper today, the last great anchorman died yesterday. When I was a kid I thought Walter Cronkite and Walt Disney were the same man. Both were moustached, avuncular authority figures who appeared on TV. Everybody looked the same in suit and tie.

Cronkite appears four times in A Book of Ages. Joining CBS at age 33, reading a special bulletin on November 22, 1963, and then, in 1968, forever associating the words "Vietnam" and "stalemate," demonstrating the immense power of television news. Nobody was ever trusted like we trusted Walter Cronkite, except maybe Ronald Reagan, but Uncle Walter didn't fudge numbers or blame pollution on trees or confuse folklore with fact. Cronkite didn't joke about nuclear war into open microphones.

The last entry about Walter Cronkite in my book appears at age 88: Cronkite had an office and a consulting contract with CBS, but was seldom consulted. He was thinking about starting a blog.

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