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Walter Cronkite: America's First Anchorman

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Rebeka Stephens

on 22 October 2015

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Transcript of Walter Cronkite: America's First Anchorman

The Power of
Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr.

broadcast journalist, anchorman,media
activist, and Emmy award-winner
Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr.
was born on

November 4, 1916,
in Saint Joseph, Missouri.
Report on MLK's Assassination
lands with the Allied troops in North Africa
A young Walter Cronkite
Start of Cronkite's Journalism
Cronkite as a student at the University of Texas at Austin

"Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy magazine."
—Walter Cronkite

"In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story."
—Walter Cronkite
Cronkite's Editorial on the War
(February 27, 1968)

"it was the first time in American history a war had been declared over by an anchorman."
-David Halberstam
editorial stimulated a turning-point in the Vietnam Conflict that had never before been seen in any American news report; proving that one man can indeed change history.
PBS Nuremberg Trials Excerpt
"On the streets total strangers consoled each other. At the White House aides wept openly in the corridors. In Dallas Governor Connally was pronounced out of immediate danger. And in New York Charles Collingwood came in to relieve harassed Walter Cronkite in the CBS anchor position. "Where's your coat, Walter?" asked Collingwood. For the first time Cronkite realized he had been too busy to put it on." (In the video above Cronkite is not wearing his coat—he did not have time to put it on before they went live).

In a 2006 TV interview with Nick Clooney, Cronkite recalled:"I choked up, I really had a little trouble...my eyes got a little wet...[what Kennedy had represented] was just all lost to us. Fortunately, I grabbed hold before I was actually [crying]."
Recalling his reaction upon having the death confirmed to him, he said: “And when you finally had to say it's official, the President is dead...pretty tough words in a situation like that. And they were, um, hard to come by."

On April 4, 1968, Walter
was first to report on the assassination of
Martin Luther King, Jr.


"It was his sustained attention to the space program, the march to the moon, that indelibly bore his stamp."

"Wally, say something, I'm speechless,"
Cronkite said to his co-anchor Wally Schirra.

"On TV and radio and in print, Cronkite was a newsman's newsman, and even his rare commentaries always were rooted in reportage. Objectivity is the reporter's goal, but never at the expense of one's humanity."

"If Cronkite doesn't know what to say,"
Vice President Spiro Agnew said,
"don't expect me to come up with anything too good."

"The fact that Cronkite did Watergate at all gave the story a kind of blessing, which is exactly what we needed, "You could feel the change overnight... A little more than a week after the Cronkite broadcast, Nixon decisively won his reelection campaign. But those of us following the story felt it. Washington people, people who followed national stories—a lot of them who had not decided that we were right changed their minds because of Walter"
—Ben Bradlee, Washington Post editor during the Watergate era.

“the nightly Cronkite count, even more than the small boxscore numbers on the front pages of dozens of newspapers, has become a flag at half-mast, a daily probe of a wound, a political statement. Cronkite's show keeps the story not just prominent but dominant, a subtle and powerful daily reminder of our impotence or incompetence, helping no one, not even the hostages. Two-hundreds-twenty-two days of the same editorial is quite enough.”
The term “News Anchor” was coined because of Walter Cronkite. He held America down at a time when the country needed him the most. He guided the American public by the hand through every bumpy situation. His voice was always calm and concise; he was someone to rely on, every night at the same time at the same news-desk, with the same sign-off. Cronkite literally anchored America to something solid. He was that anchor to the American people from the Normandy Assaults to the Nuremberg Trials, to the bombings of World War II to the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy; from the Vietnam War,to the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Watergate to the Iran Hostage Crisis. His consistency through times of crisis branded him the “Most trusted man in America.” He was the quintessence of an anchorman, which is what made him so powerful.
Early Career
Nuremberg Trials
Cronkite on the cover of TIME Magazine
Normandy Assaults
World War II Bombing
JFK Assassination
Major Historical Events
Vietnam War
MLK Assassination
Iran Hostage Crisis
Moon Landing
The Normandy Assaults
Cronkite and the "Writing 69th"
The Watergate Complex
America’s First Anchorman

















"A hundred thousand captured German documents, many bearing the Defendants' own self-incriminating signatures, are screened for evidence. On these, the prosecution resolves to rest its case. Reporters from all over the world cover the trial. Coverage in the German press is, at first, meager. On November 20, 1945, the drama begins"—Cronkite
Full transcript