In my latest for the Guardian, I weigh in on the life and long career of CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite.
Yanked from the Democratic National Convention anchor desk in 1964 because of low ratings, number-two to his rivals at NBC for much of the ’60s, Cronkite did not achieve icon status until late in his career and during his long, productive retirement. With his serious, old-fashioned delivery, he was something of a throwback even at his peak, in stark contrast, for instance, to the sardonic persona adopted by his rival David Brinkley.
Yet Cronkite truly earned his reputation for trustworthiness. And his 1977 interviews with Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin paved the way for a peace agreement that holds, however tenuously, to this day.
Exactly 40 years ago today, humans first walked on the moon. The boyishly enthusiastic Cronkite was a more visible symbol of the space program than even any of the astronauts. It’s too bad he couldn’t have been with us for such a momentous anniversary.
We’ll miss you, Uncle Walter.