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Network Statements On The Death Of Walter Cronkite

ABC News Anchor Charles Gibson: “Walter Cronkite was and always will be the gold standard. His objectivity, his even-handedness, his news judgment are all great examples. He, as much as anyone, is responsible for developing network television news. He set the standard. He told it ‘the way it is’ and all of us who are privileged to work in this business owe him an enormous debt of gratitude.”

Brian Williams, Anchor and Managing Editor, NBC Nightly News: “America has lost an icon, our industry has lost its living giant, and all those who learned about the world from Walter Cronkite have lost an exceptional teacher.

He loved his country and had a profound effect on it. He told us the truth in a plain-spoken manner. He never forgot that he was one of us, and yet we admired him so. That’s why I can’t help but fear that his loss means we’ve lost a tiny bit of who we are. He was a founding father of our profession. Others had done the job before him, and yet no one before or since has had just a mystical hold on the American people. He perfectly reflected his audience and our times. Watching Walter do what he did — better than anyone — was a formative experience. While he was deeply uncomfortable with overstatements of his own importance, those of us watching at home were so comfortable knowing he was in that chair during those years of great change and upheaval.

To use the terminology of his beloved sailboat, he was our national barometer, our compass and our rudder. With Walter at the helm of that broadcast, we knew we would sail through whatever crisis we faced as a country. He always seemed to point the wheel, with a gust of wind in his sails, toward our collective North Star.

On a personal note, Walter Cronkite was the man I grew up wanting to be. Our household, like many, came to a halt when his broadcast came on the air each night, and dinner was served only after he said good night. Knowing Walter was among the great blessings of my life.”

Roger Ailes, Chairman & CEO, FOX News: “Everybody who’s in the news business today was influenced in a positive way by Walter Cronkite. He had ability, humility and integrity, a rare combination.”

Wolf Blitzer, CNN: “Walter was the perfect anchor. He gave us the news and so much more — not because he was a polished news reader but because he was a world class journalist. He knew how to dig and ask the right questions and report the news. In the process, he helped us understand our country and the world and ourselves.

To this day, whenever there is a big story, I always say to myself: I wish Walter Cronkite were around to anchor the coverage. Walter inspired me and so many other journalists, and he will be deeply missed.”

After the jump, statements from David Westin, Steve Capus, Tom Brokaw, Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, Jon Klein, Larry King and more…


ABC News President David Westin: “Walter Cronkite set an example for all broadcast journalism by simply doing his best to tell us the truth about things that matter, with courage and without partisanship. We will miss him, but will seek to keep his spirit alive by following his example.”

Steve Capus, President, NBC News: “There are few who were more insightful or more dedicated to the craft of journalism than Walter Cronkite. It takes someone truly gifted to make the entire country feel like he was a member of the family. We are all better for his pioneering work and the journalism world will forever be shaped by what he accomplished. On behalf of NBC News, I extend our deepest sympathies to Walter’s family and his CBS colleagues.”

Tom Brokaw, former anchor, NBC Nightly News: “Walter Cronkite became the most famous journalist in America and the most trusted man in the country because he cared so passionately about the place of a free press in a democratic republic. From the time he left Texas as a young man to cover World War II to the end of his life he had no higher calling than the title journalist – and for those of us who followed it was his high standard that became our lodestar.

Walter was the competition to those of us at NBC News but as a competitor, he made us better.

On a personal note, it was privilege to know him as a friend – to share an anecdote, a drink, dinner and a laugh, always a laugh. I will always treasure my time with Walter and his late wife, Betsy.

This is a sad day but we were so fortunate to have him as a fellow citizen for as long as we did.”

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Friday, Jul 17
ABC Statements on the Death of Walter Cronkite
• ABC News President David Westin:

“Walter Cronkite set an example for all broadcast journalism by simply doing his best to tell us the truth about things that matter, with courage and without partisanship. We will miss him, but will seek to keep his spirit alive by following his example.”

• ABC News Anchor Charles Gibson:

“Walter Cronkite was and always will be the gold standard. His objectivity, his even-handedness, his news judgment are all great examples. He, as much as anyone, is responsible for developing network television news. He set the standard. He told it ‘the way it is’ and all of us who are privileged to work in this business owe him an enormous debt of gratitude.”

ABC News Anchor Barbara Walters: “There never was and there never will be another Walter Cronkite. We trusted him and that trust was well founded. He was also a jolly and supportive friend. He will be missed by each of us individually who knew him and by the whole country who loved him.”

ABC News Anchor Diane Sawyer: “He was the defining anchor of America’s story – reminding us of what we can be at our best.

He had depth, foreign reporting experience, endless excitement about the news, and an irresistible irreverence.

A call, a note, a compliment from Walter was pretty much the Nobel Prize for a young reporter. I am so lucky to know what it was to be part of the Cronkite team.”

Jon Klein, CNN U.S. President: “Walter Cronkite not only anchored a newscast, he anchored the nation during perilous times that included the assassination of a president and the resignation of another as well as a divisive war and the culture clash that followed.

To this day, more than a quarter century since he vacated the anchor chair, every television journalist aspires to be what Walter was – steady, certain, reassuring, reliable, authoritative but accessible. He was America’s Uncle Walter, and for three decades he was the most trusted name in news.”

Larry King, CNN: “Walter Cronkite was one of a kind. He was the trusted voice that brought us together every night and the voice that held us together in dark days. Walter was one of the most influential news anchors in the history of American journalism and it was always an honor to be in his presence. He personified the highest journalistic standard, and I don’t think we’ll ever see another like him.”

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