This is the first time the award has been given since Cronkite’s passing. “The honor you give me here today is the highest of my career,” Williams said. “I get to have my name mentioned alongside the best there ever was — the man I wanted to be.”
“I am convinced that had he come along today, I don’t think he would have cracked through. I think there’s too much noise, too much to cut through for a modest man from Missouri,” he told the crowd of nearly 1,200. “But God and history combined to give him to us right when we needed him.”
During the ceremony, both Bruce Springsteen and Jon Stewart provided congratulatory videos.
Williams has had some positive things to say about Stewart in return this week. In an article for Newsweek’s “New Thought Leaders” — Stewart was number two — Williams wrote that Stewart “has gone from optional to indispensable.” “There’s been another step added to the end of the process,” he wrote of the news arc, “Being held to account for our faults by a comedy show with a sharp eye and a sharp tongue. How did we live without it?”