Cronkite Post-post-mortem

by Robert Wright

I know I’m late to the Walter Cronkite reflections party, but since this is my first day of guest blogging for Andrew, I haven’t had a microphone until now. I think one reason Cronkite looks so appealing compared to today’s anchors is that he got into TV news at a time when everyone who was getting into TV news had come from some other medium (both print and radio in Cronkite’s case). As a result: (a) they, and he, hadn’t been admitted to the journalistic profession on the basis of looks, and so didn’t have the oddly credibility-sapping attractiveness of some modern anchors; (b) having come from radio, Cronkite looked like a guy who was just un-self-consciously reading the news, as opposed to a guy doing a slightly oversized impersonation of someone reading the news. Of course, he had a quasi-captive audience--he was one of only three choices in the known universe (and the one always chosen in my household)--and that probably made it easier to feel secure in his authenticity. If you missed the Dish’s earlier post of Cronkite reportingwith refreshingly low melodrama and commensurately high gravitas--the assassination of Martin Luther King, it’s worth a look.