Saturday, July 18, 2009

That's the way it is, farewell Walter Cronkite

Walter Cronkite was the first real TV newsreading personality, reading CBS news from 1962 to 1981. His passing brings memories of the sort of newsreader he was, as he was the man who saw Americans get their news from television, for better or for worse.

CBS has much on its website about its greatest newsreader (the successor, Dan Rather was shockingly biased and fell on his sword as a result of it), who is remembered for coverage of the Kennedy assassination, the moon landing (forty years almost to the day) and the Vietnam War.

Curiously, the age of the high profile national news anchor in the US has faded away, as the generation AFTER Cronkite (Dan Rather, Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw) resigned, died and retired respectively.

Cronkite had his own views, which came out most clearly AFTER he retired from reading news, but he was always the dignified face of US network news. Perhaps only David Brinkley of his era came close to his status.

It is no longer an age where network news is the dominant source of news for Americans. CNN, MSNBC and Fox News all provide national 24 hour news reports, and the internet has eaten away further at audiences. So there wont be another Cronkite, as television news struggles to gain audiences by pandering more and more to being folksy, and covering stories of ephemeral meaninglessness like celebrity happenings. So farewell - he set a standard as perhaps the world's first globally known television newsreader.

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