Obama Eulogizes Walter Cronkite

UpTake Video

by UpTake Video

  • About
  • Export
  • Add to
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. To Chip, Kathy, and Nancy, who graciously shared your father with a nation that loved him; to Walter's friends, colleagues, protégés, and all who considered him a hero; to the men of the Intrepid; to all of you who are gathered here today; I am honored to be here to pay tribute to the life and times of the man who chronicled our time. I did not know Mr. Cronkite personally. And my regret is made more acute by the stories that have been shared here today. Nor, for that matter, did I know him any better than the tens of millions who turned to him each night in search of the answer to a simple question: "What happened today?" But like them and like all of you, I have benefited as a citizen from his dogged pursuit of the truth, his passionate defense of objective reporting, and his view that journalism is more than just a profession; it is a public good vital to our democracy. Even in his early career, Walter Cronkite resisted the temptation to get the story first in favor of getting it right. He wanted to get it first, but he understood the importance of getting it right. During one of his first jobs in Kansas City, Walter's program manager urged him to go on the air reporting a massive blaze -- and we just heard how much he loved fires -- a massive blaze at city hall that had already claimed lives. When Walter reached for the telephone, his boss asked, "What are you doing; get on the air!" Walter replied that he was calling the fire department to confirm the story. "You don't need to confirm it," the manager shouted, "my wife is watching the whole thing!" Needless to say, Walter made the call, and even as the program manager took to the air himself to broadcast the unfolding tragedy, Walter discovered that it had been nothing more than a small fire that hadn't resulted in any injuries. He lost his job -- but he got the story right. Walter wasn't afraid to rattle the high and the mighty, either; but he never dared to compromise his integrity. He ...