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‘Cronkiters’ in Sweden? Apparently Not

In the many remembrances of legendary CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite was the story about how anchormen in Sweden and Holland had been dubbed “cronkiters.” But the AP’s Frazier Moore found out, that’s not the way it was.

Turns out, the anchorman who prided himself on accuracy helped perpetuate an unfounded claim that newscasters in Sweden and Holland had been nicknamed “cronkiters.”

Cronkite wasn’t alone in this mistaken report. Apparently, the first journalist to publish it was Pulitzer-prize-winning author David Halberstam. In a magazine piece in 1976, Halberstam wrote that Cronkite’s international stature was such that, “in Sweden, anchormen came to be known as Cronkiters.”

“I personally have never heard it,” Olof Hulten, a veteran communications researcher and media educator in Kalmar, Sweden, told Moore. “But he was a good anchorman,” Hulten added.

“No one (at Radio Netherlands) has heard of the term,” said Michael Walraven in an e-mail. “I would assume that the term in Holland is unknown.”

NPR’s “Morning Edition” briefly mentioned the story this morning and it was NPR’s “On the Media” which first reported the ‘Cronkiter’ or ‘Kronkiter’ myth last Friday.

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