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Jack Kennedy

Jack Kennedy

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Published: July 19, 2009 12:00 am GLYNN: A thrill meeting 'most trusted' voiceBy Don [email protected] the news business reporters often have that front row seat to cover events.

I've been blessed during some 40 years of reporting to have witnessed — even if at a distance on occasion — a number of major happenings.

At least they were in my experiences.I recall that day in 1962 when President Kennedy stopped at the Niagara Falls Airport, enroute to speak in Buffalo.

I can still see the crowds pressing against the fence to shake hands.And that evening ex-president Harry S.

Truman met with reporters for more than an hour at Canisius College.

HST talked candidly with us, everything from the day FDR died to his decisions to drop the A-bomb and fire Gen.

MacArthur.In 1984, I was in the army of reporters covering Pope John Paul II during a visit to Toronto.

I wasn't in the prime press pool.

From my seat, the pope was a white dot on a stage three blocks away.Other memorable assignments included the dramatic story of 7-year-old Roger Woodward surviving an accidental plunge over the falls; the white water raft ride in 1975, when three passengers drowned and 25 were rescued; and dozens of VIPs visiting the Cataract City.The biggest thrill, however, was Sept.

10, 2004, when I was at the Society of Professional Journalists convention at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.There's where I had the rare opportunity to meet Walter Cronkite — for what seemed like fleeting seconds — "the most trusted man in America." With more that 100 SPJ delegates in that ballroom, any on-one-one time was severely limited.

He shared the stage that morning with NBC anchorman Brian Williams, successor to Tom Brokaw.Williams was in awe that day, too.

"How often in life can we say we are sitting next to the reason we are in the occupation?" Williams asked the audience.Since Friday night, shortly after his death in Manhattan at age 92, many media people have been canonizing Cronkite, to the point that the mild-mannered Missouri native with the glint in his eye and the trim mustache would surely be embarrassed.

People familiar with his career know that his later years were tinged with some bitterness over the way he had been treated by the CBS Network.

But he seldom showed it.Like millions of other people who watched Cronkite when he was at the anchor desk for almost 20 years, I vividly remember that classic sign off, "And that's the way it is." The word "trust" suited his image.

He would literally lose his cool if anyone hinted that he was not concerned about protecting the public trust.Of all the stories about him, may favorite is that day, Nov.

22, 1963, when he fought back tears (on camera) as he confirmed the reports from Dallas that Kennedy was dead.Amidst the flurry of calls to the CBS newsroom, one that slipped by the switchboard shattered the anchorman's nerves."I want to speak to someone in charge of the news," a woman demanded.Cronkite reassured the caller that she had reached the news desk."I want to complain of your having that Walter Cronkite on the air at a time like this, crying those crocodile tears when we all know he hated Jack Kennedy."To compound the insult, the caller tossed in her hyphenated name into the complaint and made it known that she had a posh Park Avenue address.The anchorman had had enough."Mrs.

Llewellyn-Arbuthnot (or something akin), you are speaking to Walter Cronkite and you, madame, are a damned idiot." No one would argue that the veteran newsman had every right to put the phone back in its cradle before the woman could say another word.Contact reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext.

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