Walter Cronkite – And That’s the Way It Is

After hearing about the passing of Walter Cronkite on Friday and watching a retrospective on his life, I thought to myself: “this is a man who sat in the anchor chair and told us about these life changing events that took place in this the world.” I was seven years old when Cronkite stepped away from the anchor chair for good at CBS News on March 6, 1981, which meant that I was too young to remember the event.

But as I got older and started to watch the evening news on a semi-regular basis whether it was on CBS (Dan Rather- Cronkite’s successor at the anchor chair), ABC( the late Peter Jennings) or NBC (Tom Brokaw), I began to do some research on the history of CBS Television and noticed that Cronkite was a major star for the network. More details please

The Big Three News Network

Before the invention of 24 hour news channel, the Internet, blogs,text messages and back in the days prior to a gazillion cable channels, there were only three major networks and a few local ones, but we watched the news within those three networks. During the 1960s and 1970s, Cronkite faced tough competition among his fellow news colleagues on the other networks at that 6:30 p.m. time slot. His competitors were NBC’s Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Roger Mudd (who would later on join CBS News) and John Chancellor; and ABC with Harry Reasoner (who would later join 60 Minutes on CBS) Barbara Walters, Howard K. Smith and the three man anchor team of Frank Reynolds, Max Robinson and Jennings.)

Historical Events

During his tenure as anchor which began in 1963, Cronkite covered major news events such as the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy along with the Memorial Service; The Vietnam War, The Civil Rights Movement(CBS covered the movement at a time where the other networks didn’t want to touch the subject at all) the assassination of both Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, the fallout of the 1968 Democratic National Convention Demonstration in Chicago; Apollo 11 and Apollo 13; Woodstock; the Feminist Movement; The Demonstration at Kent State University; Watergate; the rise and fall of the United States Economy; the Oil Shocks of 1973 and 1979; and the Iran Hostage Crisis.

And That’s The Way It Is

Cronkite ended every nightly telecast with “And That’s The Way It Is” along with the date. In some way, the slogan is the best way to describe the state of journalism back then because in today’s world, television news is not the same anymore. Nowadays in television news you have: the following: know-it-all hosts who think that they are smarter than anyone else; hosts who believe that the only way to get their point across in a debate is to shout the person with the opposing view down; and models who try to call themselves journalists or anchors, even though they are not fooling anybody with their skills (of course, you had good looking people that worked in television news back then, but now, there are too many people who on the air mainly for their looks first and skills second.)

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