That's the way he was

Walter Cronkite died Friday at age 92.


He was preceded in death by television journalism.

No doubt, Cronkite wore his opposition to the Vietnam War on his sleeve at times. But the extent of his liberal views wasn't really known until his retirement from the CBS News anchor slot he defined.

At least he aspired to an appearance of objectivity.

And that's more than you can say for today's TV news folk.

Today, if a news anchor were to sign off with "And that's the way it is," we'd have to wonder if it really is. Most TV news people don't even pretend to be objective anymore.

Recently -- and you've got to see the video to believe it -- a CNN anchor asked a reporter in Africa if Barack Obama's warm welcome there was unprecedented. He clearly wanted it to be. But no, the reporter said, George W. Bush was greeted just as excitedly.

The CNN anchor literally jumped in his chair in apparent disbelief. And there have been no recriminations, no discipline that anyone knows of. It's OK, in other words.

Again, at least Cronkite tried to be professional.

More than that, he was professorial. His fatherly way endeared him to all of America, as he shepherded viewers through crisis after crisis. He will be remembered most for the tender sadness in his announcement of President John F. Kennedy's death.

Cronkite, who took us to the moon and back, was a Sea of Tranquility on Earth, the nation's emcee in its most tumultuous decade since the Civil War, reporting on the Vietnam War, student unrest, the civil rights struggle and one tragic assassination after another. He was the wizard that Oz went to to make sense of it all.

Cronkite will be remembered as "the most trusted man in America."

We don't know who may succeed him in that role. But you can bet whoever it is, he doesn't sit in a news anchor's chair.