Cronkite’s 15 Minutes of Fame for our Infamies

 

By Jack Engelhard

 

Walter Cronkite’s TV presence was so powerful that when he made some off-hand remark critical of our war in Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson knew that losing the support of Cronkite was the same as losing the support of the American people. LBJ had met his match; journalism that provokes.

 

Back then (going here strictly from memory) we were still reading newspapers and TV News was nothing more than a daily 15 minute roundup and recap – but such was the authority of these men, Cronkite, Huntley/Brinkley, Edward R. Murrow, Eric Sevareid, that we began to trust broadcasting nearly as much as print. (“Murrow’s Boys” dominated CBS for some time.)

 

Today’s obits on Cronkite show him momentarily forgetting his journalistic stoicism in favor of a touch of emotion at the announcement of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. This may be a proper highlight but we should remember that 15 minutes at a time, TV News grew into the monster that it is today.

Details