Cronkite, 92, wasn’t the first anchorman, but in many ways he invented the role. You can see the images just by thinking about them: Cronkite overcome with emotion after announcing the death of John Kennedy; the space flights; coming out against the Vietnam War; paving the way for the Israeli-Egyptian rapprochement by interviewing Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin even before President Jimmy Carter could get involved.
Cronkite, with his famous nightly sign-off (“And that’s the way it is”), was the embodiment of something close to a national cultural consensus, which doesn’t remotely exist today. Of course, there was much that was phony about that. But there was nothing phony about Cronkite. He was the real thing.