In 1976, the Atlantic published a major two-part story by David Halberstam, "The Power and the Profits," on the development and influence of broadcast news, and the emergence of the nightly 30-minute newscast. In this section Halberstam considered the durability and appeal of Walter Cronkite.
The solidity and enduring professionalism which Cronkite had first shown in 1952 set him apart when the time came to choose an evening news anchorman. He was by television standards an easy man to work with. What was on the outside was on the inside; he liked, indeed loved, being Walter Cronkite, being around all those celebrities, but it was as if he could never quite believe that he was a celebrity himself. Why, who was it John Glenn’s mother most wanted to meet at the ceremonies marking her son’s return from the first orbital space flight? Walter Cronkite, of course. Cronkite felt an enthusiasm for life and for his work that smacked of the country boy let loose in the big city; it was all wonders and magic. His was a profession filled with immense egos, crowded with very mortal, often quite insecure men blown overnight to superstar status. Cronkite too had considerable ego, but unlike many of his colleagues he had considerable control over it, and his vanity rarely showed in public. He knew by instinct the balance between journalism and show biz; he knew you needed to be good at the latter, but that you must never take it too far. He was enough of an old wire-service man to be uneasy with his new success and fame. He was just sophisticated enough never to show his sophistication.
In addition, he had physical strength and durability. Iron pants, as they say in the trade. He could sit there all night under great stress and constant pressure and never wear down, never blow it. And he never seemed bored by it all, even when it got boring. When Blair Clark and Sig Mickelson recommended him for the anchorman job, that durability, what they called the farm boy in him, was a key factor. He was the workhorse. After all, an anchorman did not necessarily have to be brilliant; he had to synthesize others, and there were those who felt that Sevareid had simply priced himself out of the market intellectually. Eric was thought to be too interested in analysis and opinion, and thus not an entirely believable transmission belt for straight information.