If you grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, television anchor news was summed up in a few names…Brinkley, Smith, Rather, Reasoner…and “Uncle Walter” Cronkite.
Cronkite proved the most trusted and durable. He was there for Kennedy’s assassination and man’s moon walk. He was there for the civil rights and women’s rights movement. He was there for Woodstock and Watergate. He was also instrumental in turning the tide of the Vietnam War.
In 1968, Cronkite went to Vietnam to see the war for himself. He returned with a fresh perspective: it was time for America to get out of the conflict. His new view angered President Johnson, discouraged patriotic Americans who trusted their government and energized the anti-war movement.
It was the first time that a single man–in the national media–changed the direction of history. Indeed, after 1968, the Vietnam War became an American albatross and Cronkite’s admonition proved right…even righteous.
And today was the day the Cronkite era was launched.
And that’s the way it was.