A little off my normal subject.
This past weekend Walter Cronkite died. I read another bloggers post about this and it stirred some thoughts about his passing that I felt I’d like to share.
I did not know Mr. Cronkite other than seeing him on television for so many years. Forgive me but after that many years I feel that our relationship is more personal than to maintain the formality of Mr. Cronkite so I am sure he wouldn’t mind to just be Walter.
Walter was an icon. Nothing was the news unless it made Walter’s desk. Today’s information stream is a torrent. If you don’t like what someone is reporting keep looking, you will find another to tell you something else. The difference from today is that Walter was trusted. You didn’t have to look for his loyalties, you knew exactly where his loyalty rested, the truth.
With Walter you didn’t look left or right, you just listened and then you saw the picture and used your own values to decide right or wrong. To me that is the pinnacle of journalism.
Thinking of some of the events that came to us via Walter. The Viet Nam War and the peace demonstrations, the assassinations of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. The riots and burning of our cities, the moon landing. These are events that shaped generational thinking. Without journalists, without Walter, these are the pages of our history that many would like buried. We would be a lesser nation without men and women the caliber of Walter Cronkite that pulled back the covers of truth and exposed us to sometimes the horror of ourselves and the best of ourselves. This is a debt we owe these men.
We saw journalists like Walter in the middle of the action and fire during WW2. He used his journalistic position to relay the words and action during a very turbulent time, Viet Nam. In one segment, showing our brave men fighting and dying in the jungles and in the very next segment, showing another group of brave men and women demonstrating and demanding the war and killing to end. He pulled back the covers to expose the racism and violence during the civil rights era, how many in power do you believe wanted what they were doing to people demanding equal rights not covered by the news? Assassinations of leaders that changed history, and you know those deaths affected him as it did us, but he was our rock and our truth teller.
Thank you Walter. As you rest we need to remember that the icons of a generation are our men and women of honor that become the conscience of America, not the entertainers and athletes as we have seen lately.
Rest in Peace, Walter