The Life of Walter Cronkite
Historian Douglas Brinkley on his new book about news legend
- Duration 8:56
- Date May 29, 2012
Historian Douglas Brinkley on his new book about news legend
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-- there's always this -- about the great partisan divide among news personalities in the stand eight.
Everyone looking for -- of unbiased journalism who knows hearken back -- guy.
But after reading -- -- new book on the life of Walter Cronkite.
I wonder why that is.
It's just president of -- Douglas Brinkley.
Points and paints a very different image of the man we -- numerous most trusted man in America.
Well Walter Cronkite was a man of his age and non meaning during you've started really groping Kansas city Texas Houston.
The work for the wire services and military you served in World War II was a -- the bold -- would be with the print reporter but remember you were all in this together.
As a print reporting had a biases and they were hardly -- previous biases came forward really in the 1960s over to Vietnam -- war and he was for Vietnam in 65 he went over there and -- I think America's doing the right thing but the Tet offensive he -- -- 68.
But all over country came back and famously.
Went on non CBS special report and said it's a stalemate may have been doesn't look like we could win.
And it I'll turn to Lyndon Johnson and MacNamara Westmoreland suddenly Cronkite -- -- And it had an impact and -- and -- -- -- -- strong -- America but you know if it if the talent of any.
Sort even approaching his his rank.
Tried that today.
If you rightly called on the carpet and it was to do you know but do remember reporters never showed Franklin Roosevelt in the wheelchair and you're ready do John F Kennedy's affairs.
It was so organizational about them or there was a club where they just didn't they didn't.
-- considered ghost and I think Watergate changed all that suddenly reporters made the reputations.
Not by being Scotty Reston being embedded.
With the establishment of breaking loose and doing investigative you reveal far bigger things of Cronkite that it you know securing.
And I never heard this -- -- -- -- but.
-- This -- and hope for flights for he and his family that alone.
You know what this place was aware my exclusive contract with Duncan donuts stopped it.
But that attack at a candidate blacks aren't but that was a big deal and and and it is bosses did get a little that it -- about it but.
-- -- Well they didn't fire movers -- what happened was -- think because he had done military aviation while techies to work for an airlines industry back in Kansas City.
And covered the year industry a lot -- he went on a junket what you call it and eventually was caught up -- Walter you what are you doing you can't take.
He can't take it from pan am of them promotes space and things like you're doing.
So he if he were several moment he should have been fired that was it -- he was to put -- you -- -- -- critical stories on pan -- gnome but some of the human pan -- later added to financial troubles.
They were his shortest ever they were his friend's home and -- you see -- that's what apart I only wanted to telling -- this is that.
On the right anything like that -- even inference -- any talent here.
It was accepted that I was that's not -- That's not that was the way it was back in in that era but it and that's slightly altered and I must admit that's why Nixon and Agnew win after the Big Three they were worried about time.
ABC CBS and NBC out of New York controlling.
On the media they did it quite clumsily when they try -- you know I've listened to Nixon tapes with Colson trying to get Walter Cronkite.
The big big broken down the end with the birth of cable news send them the right when Cronkite -- CBS and 81 scene and came in the mine 96 Foxit.
Now it's a much more diversified world.
We'll never be again a moment when you have an uncle Walter Cronkite one person that's being -- in in influencing so many people many holistic what do you have to say he had to retire early much sooner than he wanted to because this upstart Dan rather.
Who is emerging arm.
Yet for all the competition they had similar.
Largely anti Republican -- Dan rather very critical of Richard Nixon and it's critical press conferences.
And feisty relationship is so so -- -- -- -- Politico.
That it seemed to me against the level politically there were similar.
Cronkite and rather than not -- with personality.
-- have a lot of Republican friends on he was great prince George trooper walker bush Ronald Reagan -- Walter Cronkite has the most started in radio together.
On -- didn't have Republican friends so Cronkite was hard not to like cut that avuncular -- -- router didn't have rather than have that all right so.
What was it with -- that he just resented.
Rather being foisted on people -- He did not like he thought he was going to be able to be like come be a part time coming into doing special reports -- the rather crowd literally on took his desk and chopped it up in coverage of his chair off.
Didn't -- any remnant of Cronkite it was not a you know it's hard when you have those.
Passing of the torch that this was an awful one in Crockett is grew -- bitterness and animosity towards rather he actually set a -- of of Cronkite he.
Dan rather week's events in -- -- in sincerity.
Home -- view is I had -- curl up and take the kicks from Walter Cronkite the guy who.
Quick too soon enough for a -- -- -- rather magnanimous in his comments -- you about the rampant he was he was seem to have not wonderful help to me in interviews and you know remember they had some great collaborative moments together the Kennedy assassination.
Dan rather and Rosie doesn't exist in nearly to the degree of no we didn't because you know while -- but he knows and he told me all about and everywhere every lesson you learn about us -- -- that -- -- of the issue with.
Cronkite apparently was big into is I want some authoritative.
Don't put me in an embarrassing situation.
That was a big deal how he looked at triple source Cronkite was better at making sure he never like to go first he wanted to have -- right.
Wire service reporter so he was like a jaguar hear those old bells go off.
Ripping you Pete is careful with the JFK assassination -- he tried to be careful all but it got to the point it didn't matter as much when she got the Nixon years because the entire fourth estate was against Richard Nixon.
And Cronkite you say there is really give us.
All of -- all sorts of media biases but it's a diversified I don't know it's the media looks back at Walter -- -- and gives them -- They do with Edward.
Arm because it's a good question but you know bill paley of CBS was so Eisenhower Republican who -- CVS thing.
In Crockett was very good -- -- where he had trouble was with the Goldwater in in 64 Cronkite.
Reagan dealt with Cronkite well what Walter did was personal -- -- home -- sentinel grudges and they both told a joke this.
That yes they hope that they -- was a joke.
Guy you know he would do strip -- accept parties yeah that was unsettling if I try and all the did reveal read regularly and he would go have the drinks and he's Asian and Reagan joined -- well but they'd like to tell jokes -- a photo in the book of Reagan.
I'll all of them laughing that that famous photograph taken the White House -- Cronkite telling the dirty joke.
He was ultimately a -- -- Establishment terror -- -- but he showed Israel left wing left callers not after he left office did not left sailing with Bill Clinton any kind of let them -- -- -- it was for Bill Clinton very much so and then also was against -- George W Bush's -- gulf war -- that we -- world -- -- -- -- -- -- column before he -- For -- syndicate just.
Denouncing George W.
Bush left and right calling the worst president.
Well and so as he GA things you don't know that we idolize and some -- that we saw him in an ideal world.
And he wants.
-- course we did in because in the sixties nobody trusted anybody nobody trusted Lyndon Johnson or Nixon.
The youth generation didn't like -- old people and there was Walter Cronkite Monday through Friday kind of steady -- On the TV and you know you go see the George Clooney or Brad Pitt movie -- -- by one -- -- the year for two hours.
He had to live with Cronkite every night.
He he wore well on people because that a -- that they cadence he actually slowed his commentary down unlike me I talked fast.
He would go down a break it down it.
And though he was a managing editor was quite -- inundated.
It -- Those Frankel thank you very very much.
The definitive book on on our guys say when I -- -- -- very thick book I don't mind I got to get ready for doubles and I love him dearly -- -- Phenomenal it's phenomenal book the strip thing.
That's a freebie that's -- -- of more of -- thanks.