I’ll miss him.
I grew up watching Walter, whether he was reporting the news or helping us be a part of the great and terrible moments in history, from the Apollo missions to the tragedies of the day. But he did more than report. He was a classic journalist — he wanted to really know, so he could do his part to pass on the truth — not a he-said, he-said political beltway mouthpiece (that dominate network and cable news today), but real journalism. It’s no surprise that he was considered the most trusted man in television.
Many years later, I got a chance to see a rare interview with Walter on TV. Catherine Crier was talking to him one-on-one on the relatively new Fox News channel. Ironically, he was just getting into talking seriously about the dearth of real reporting today — how the networks and cable cared only about bottom line to the detriment of the news — and you could see Crier frantically signaling offstage to let the interview run and not cut to commercial… but he was cut-off mid-sentence for a commercial break, and when they came back he was gone.
In his later life, Walter discovered the truth about the drug war, and came out as a passionate reformer, working with Drug Policy Alliance.
Here’s Allen St. Pierre’s recollection, along with Cronkite’s “Drug war is a war on families” OpEd from 2004.
Walter Cronkite: On America’s “Disastrous” War on Drugs