“And that’s the way it is … “– CBS anchor Walter Cronkite’s signature sign-off
“Here is a bulletin from CBS News. In Dallas, Texas, three shots were fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade in downtown Dallas. The first reports say that President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting.” – Cronkite, November 22, 1963
“Two of our four helicopters were hit, by ground fire, including the one I was in, RPG and AK-47.” – Former NBC News anchor Brian Williams
“Sorry dude, I don’t remember you being on my aircraft,” — Iraqi War veteran Lance Reynolds.
“Anybody who is enjoying the destruction of this man, you gotta look at yourself. There’s a lot of people saying that they’re really happy his career is going down the drain. That disturbs me.” – Fox commentator Bill O’Reilly commenting about Brian Williams
I really miss Walter Cronkite.
Yes, the very same Walter Cronkite that was there for us night-after-night with his classic sign-off.
He was there when John F. Kennedy was shot.
He was there when Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon in 1969.
He was there for each and every one of the 444 days that 52 Americans were held hostage in Iran.
He was there from 1962-1980.
The story was never about Walter Cronkite. He was not 100 percent objective — no journalist passes that test – but he never let his philosophy seep into his coverage.
More importantly, the story was never about Walter Cronkite. Instead, he covered the story wherever the story came from (e.g., Washington D.C., Moscow, Saigon) and whenever the story occurred.
He was dependable. He was professional. He was reliable. He exuded integrity.
And then came Dan Rather …
You Probably Think This Song Is About You
Carly Simon with Mick Jagger’s backing vocals recorded a hit for the ages in 1972 with the famous lyric, “You probably think this song is about you.”
The song, “You’re So Vain” never applied to Walter Cronkite, but it described his successor Dan Rather in spades.
And when it was time to bring down a war-making president, Dan was there too. He reported about a 1972 memo that provided conclusive damning evidence that George W. Bush was given a free pass out of Vietnam. Only one problem: the “type-written” letter was composed with a Microsoft computer software font.
Poor Dan. Microsoft didn’t exist in 1972, let alone a Microsoft font. Dan was forced to go. Dan is still oh-so-bitter.
Dateline: Exploding GM Trucks
CBS rival NBC takes a back-seat to no network when it comes to perfecting the art of inserting itself into the story.
Some may remember the fiery 1992 Dateline NBC GM truck side-impact story that was pretty shocking when it ran. What was more chilling was the subsequent revelation that NBC rigged model rocket engines to the sides of the trucks. GM found the model rocket engines and the intact gas tanks. There were no explosions, except for the defamation lawsuits against NBC.
NBC was the story more than 20 years ago. All was pretty much forgotten … until Brian Williams became the story.
As we well know, Brian “Stolen Valor” Williams has been suspended for six months without pay. Everything seemed to settle down until Mother Jones attempt to even the score with a scandal against Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, the same O’Reilly who defended Brian Williams.
The charge is whether Bill O’Reilly inserted himself into the Falklands War story 33 years ago.
Before we go any further, let the author of Almost DailyBrett confess that I inserted myself into a gubernatorial campaign in California 33 years ago. I was even in the ballroom of the Century Plaza Hotel in LaLaLand on election night. Scandalous.
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
It seems wholly appropriate that ASU asked Walter Cronkite to lend his name and prestige to a school that teaches legacy and digital journalism and mass communication. Cronkite was the standard from the time he entered the business in 1935 as a cub newspaper reporter until his compulsory retirement more than four decades later.
Will a major university school of journalism and mass communication bestow the name of Brian Williams on its nameplate? Something tells me that Williams thought about that immortalization. And all of that was possible, even probable.
Until he made himself the story, just like Dan Rather made himself the story.
You’re so vain. You probably think this song is about you.