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Cronkite Tells It Like It Is

cronkite2.pngSince learning of the death of broadcasting legend Walter Cronkite last week, we have been trying to find the right way to pay tribute to him here. Unfortunately, Cronkite’s heyday was a bit before our time — we grew up in a Peter Jennings world — so we don’t have any personal stories or anecdotes to share.

That doesn’t mean we haven’t enjoyed all the stirring tributes that have been everywhere (TVNewser columnist Gail Shister wrote one of our favorites.) It is true — journalists like to honor our own.

But while it’s easy for critics and fans to heap praise on a legend after his death, we have been most moved by Cronkite’s own words, the video clips of him announcing John F. Kennedy’s death or interviews with him after his retirement. And we were exceptionally happy to see this Proust interview Cronkite did for Vanity Fair in 1997. It’s a true look into the man himself, told through his own words. And guess what? He wasn’t perfect. Nor was he humble. But, he was pretty funny. Here are some of our favorite answers:

When and where were you happiest?
Behind the newsdesk on a fast-breaking story.

Which living person do you most admire?
Me.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Humility.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
I’m strongly urged by advisers not to say “moral laxity,” so let’s say “sense of humor.”

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