Walter Cronkite

Icons of the Century

Famously known at one point as the “Most Trusted Man in America,” Cronkite was the face of broadcast news for a generation.

Invited into Americans’ houses each night, Uncle Walter served as a solid, reliable presence during difficult times: the Kennedy assassination, Vietnam, Watergate. Cronkite was also there to share the world’s triumphs: the space program, the Camp David accords.

For two decades, Cronkite upheld the basic credos of good journalism: He was fair and accurate, reliable and true. Only rarely did he allow his own opinion to seep in, most notably when he returned from Vietnam and argued that the war had become futile.

Cronkite left the anchor chair in 1981, but remained active — and became much more opinionated as time wore on. TV news is dramatically different from Cronkite’s time, and critics — Cronkite among them — would say we’re worse for it.

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