In his column today, Howard Kurtz looks at the death of Walter Cronkite through the deaths of “two other journalistic giants” Peter Jennings and Tim Russert and asks: “Is the news business changing into some alien form that betrays their legacy? Or is such shorthand simply our way of saying they set an unmatchable standard?”
Perhaps the tributes are ultimately about personality. Jennings was the smooth, witty and urbane narrator of events. Russert was the blue-collar Buffalo boy who feasted on politics because he loved the game. Cronkite, the product of an earlier era, had that plainspoken, avuncular delivery that made you feel it was your friend registering shock at JFK’s death, or exclaiming “oh boy” as the Eagle landed on the lunar surface.