walter cronkite, 1916 - 2009

Long-time CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite is dead at age 92.

When I was growing up, Walter Cronkite was the nightly voice that helped end the Vietnam War.

The media was very different then. Network newscasts had enormous clout, and each network had a distinct political viewpoint. CBS wasn't radical by any means, but it was generally liberal. And of course, it was independent. It wasn't trying to entertain, and it took the appropriate adversarial relationship to government that journalism is meant to have.

Cronkite showed us the blood, the napalm, the amputations, the burned villages. He showed us the flag-draped coffins and the endless body counts.

I watched the news every night with my father, who would repeat, "What a waste. What a terrible waste."

My brother was draft age. My father and he explored their options, like a bad knee or Quaker meetings. Ultimately, my brother got a "good number" in the draft lottery, but my father always said that if it came to that, they would go to Canada together.

My father and I went to Washington on a bus from his union, and chanted "All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance". It was my first demonstration.

Thinking of Walter Cronkite brings all that back for me.

Cronkite knew Iraq was just as wrong as Vietnam. You can read about that here on Common Dreams.

Rest In Peace.

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