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Charles Gibson

Charles Gibson

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"It's hard to imagine a man for whom I had more admiration," Mike Wallace of "60 Minutes" said on CNN.


He was a superb reporter and honorable man." Cronkite, who became the "most trusted man in America," died Friday in his Manhattan home at age 92.

Cronkite was the face of the "CBS Evening News" from 1962 to 1981, when stories ranged from the assassinations of President John Kennedy and the Rev.

Martin Luther King Jr.

to racial and anti-war riots, Watergate and the Iranian hostage crisis.

It was Cronkite who read the bulletins coming from Dallas when Kennedy was shot Nov.

22, 1963, interrupting a live CBS-TV broadcast of a soap opera.

"Walter was who I wanted to be when I grew up," said CBS' "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer, 72, who began working at CBS News in 1969.

"He set a standard for all of us.

He made television news what it became." Cronkite died just three days before the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, a moment of history linked with his reporting.

"He had a passion for human space exploration, an enthusiasm that was contagious, and the trust of his audience.

He will be missed," astronaut Neil Armstrong said.

"Walter Cronkite was and always will be the gold standard," said ABC News anchor Charles Gibson.

"His objectivity, his evenhandedness, his news judgment are all great examples." On April 16, 1962, Cronkite replaced Douglas Edwards on CBS' "Evening News." "I never asked them why," Cronkite recalled in 2006.

"I was so pleased to get the job, I didn't want to endanger it by suggesting that I didn't know why I had it." A former wire service reporter and war correspondent, Cronkite valued accuracy, objectivity and understated compassion.

He expressed liberal views in more recent writings but said he had always aimed to be fair and professional in his judgments on the air.

But when Cronkite took sides, he helped shape the times.

After the 1968 Tet offensive, he visited Vietnam and wrote and narrated a "speculative, personal" report advocating negotiations leading to the withdrawal of American troops.

He concluded, "We are mired in stalemate." After the broadcast, President Lyndon B.

Johnson reportedly said, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America." Polls in 1972 and 1974 pronounced Cronkite the "most trusted man in America." Cronkite was the top newsman during the peak era for the networks, when the nightly broadcasts grew to a half-hour and 24-hour cable and the Internet were nonexistent.

In the fall of 1972, responding to reports in The Washington Post, Cronkite aired a two-part series on Watergate that helped ensure national attention to the then-emerging scandal.

As many as 18 million households tuned in to Cronkite's top-rated program each evening.

Twice that number watched his final show, on March 6, 1981, compared with fewer than 10 million in 2005 for the departure of Dan Rather .

Rather, who replaced Cronkite at the anchor desk, called Cronkite "a giant of the journalistic craft." Cronkite had stepped down at 64 years old with the assurance that other duties awaited him at CBS News, but he found little demand there for his services.

He hosted the short-lived science magazine series "Walter Cronkite's Universe" and was retained by the network as a consultant, although he was never consulted.

He hosted or narrated specials on public and cable TV and issued his columns and the best-selling "A Reporter's Life." For 24 years he served as onsite host for New Year's Day telecasts by the Vienna Philharmonic, ending that cherished tradition only in 2009.Cronkite's final resting place will be next to his late wife in Missouri, where the two first met, a spokeswoman said Saturday.

A private funeral service was scheduled for Thursday in New York, and a memorial service is to be held within a month at the Lincoln Center.,0,2213243.story
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