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Guest Dennis

In Honor of Walter Cronkite

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Guest Dennis

My generation came of age at a time when Walter Cronkite was the name in American culture synonymous with credibility and respect. His role in our society transcended his TV news anchor position. His pronouncements on the events of our time were like a slow rolling thunder delivered from an electronic Mount Olympus.

 

When he said "and that's the way it is," we believed his every word because his compassion, dignity and respect merited our trust.

 

In his later years, Walter Cronkite became a powerful spokesperson for world peace. I was humbled to share a platform with him at an event sponsored by the Peace Alliance.

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Guest Robert Parry

Cronkite personified the notion that TV news was a public service, not just a revenue stream or an opportunity to place ads around feel-good features. Yet, in that way, Cronkite contributed to complacency among many mainstream and liberal Americans who believed that the U.S. news media, though flawed, would continue to serve as an early-warning system for the Republic – and that they could focus on other concerns.

 

The American Right, however, had a different perspective. Right-wingers saw the Cronkite-era news media as the enemy – undermining McCarthy’s anti-communist crusade, laying the groundwork for an integrated America, eroding public support for the Vietnam War, hounding Nixon from office, and concentrating public attention on various social problems.

 

Cronkite was singled out for contempt because of his perceived role in turning Americans against the Vietnam War, especially after the surprise communist Tet Offensive in 1968. After returning from a trip to Vietnam, Cronkite closed his Feb. 27, 1968, newscast with a personal analysis of the situation.

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