Not really a geek topic – although his impassioned “Go baby, go” during the Apollo launch still warms my geek heart.
But Walter Cronkite was a public figure unlike many others. He was what people wanted to be, for his generation. Honorable, intelligent, caring, trustworthy.
At one time, his audience was so large, and his image so credible, that a 1972 poll determined he was “the most trusted man in America” – surpassing even the president, vice president, members of Congress and all other journalists. In a time of turmoil and mistrust, after Vietnam and Watergate, the title was a rare feat – and the label stuck.
By the time I was watching the news regularly he was retiring, but he had already left his mark on me as to how news should be reported. Not hyped, not fancy or with its own theme music, and not with exaggerated even-handedness to produce “balanced” reporting or presenting events out of context to prove your already decided-upon point.
You just tell people what happened.
That’s it. And that’s what he did.
That’s the way he was.