I grew up watching Uncle Walter. My young knowledge of the Vietnam War was from Uncle Walter. I tell people until my favorite Cousin, Yona McNish married returning Vietnam POW Thomas McNish, Vietnam was just what Walter Cronkite started the news with every night. Only later did I learn he started out in favor of the war but with the Tet Offensive turned against it.
I enjoyed the comprehensive view of how journalism developed from radio to television. How many fell behind, not being able to make the transition from radio to tv? I realized as many politicians, such as Abraham Lincoln might not have been elected today, would Walter Cronkite have made it as a Television News Anchor in today’s environment?
Uncle Walter just believed in presenting the news. He was known as the “Most Trusted Man in America.” You knew, you could get straight news from Uncle Walter. If it had occurred to me to become a journalist Walter Cronkite would have been my role model. He was the role model for many, who became his proteges.
Sorry folks, when I was VERY young at first I would mix Walter Cronkite up with Bob Keeshan, the man who planed Captain Kangaroo. I am trying to imagine the vision. Heroic newsman does the newscast, then changes suit jackets in a phone booth and emerges as Captain Kangaroo.
Uncle Walter was strict about making sure he had ALL the facts before he went on the air. I followed his newscasts into early adulthood. He retired when I was twenty-four as the anchor, but of course saw him in many things he did afterward.
I enjoyed reading about his friendships with Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead and Jimmy Buffett. I enjoyed the story when those two took him to dinner to console him, when he lost his wife, Betsy. Uncle Walter held up his hands and said, “Boys, I have a girlfriend!” Then, when Connie Chung and Barbara Walters were in the beauty shop. You get to learn they didn’t discuss major world events at the beauty shop, but Uncle Walter and his girlfriends. Sorry, this sounds like the beginning of a comedy routine.
Thank you, Douglas Brinkley for guiding me along the path of this great man’s life, someone I grew up watching and trusting.