NBC Statements on the Death of Walter Cronkite

By Chris Ariens Comment

• Brian Williams, Anchor and Managing Editor, NBC Nightly News

“America has lost an icon, our industry has lost its living giant, and all those who learned about the world from Walter Cronkite have lost an exceptional teacher.

He loved his country and had a profound effect on it. He told us the truth in a plain-spoken manner. He never forgot that he was one of us, and yet we admired him so. That’s why I can’t help but fear that his loss means we’ve lost a tiny bit of who we are. He was a founding father of our profession. Others had done the job before him, and yet no one before or since has had just a mystical hold on the American people. He perfectly reflected his audience and our times. Watching Walter do what he did — better than anyone — was a formative experience. While he was deeply uncomfortable with overstatements of his own importance, those of us watching at home were so comfortable knowing he was in that chair during those years of great change and upheaval.

To use the terminology of his beloved sailboat, he was our national barometer, our compass and our rudder. With Walter at the helm of that broadcast, we knew we would sail through whatever crisis we faced as a country. He always seemed to point the wheel, with a gust of wind in his sails, toward our collective North Star.

On a personal note, Walter Cronkite was the man I grew up wanting to be. Our household, like many, came to a halt when his broadcast came on the air each night, and dinner was served only after he said good night. Knowing Walter was among the great blessings of my life.”

Click continued for remembrances from Tom Brokaw and Steve Capus

• Steve Capus, President, NBC News:

“There are few who were more insightful or more dedicated to the craft of journalism than Walter Cronkite. It takes someone truly gifted to make the entire country feel like he was a member of the family. We are all better for his pioneering work and the journalism world will forever be shaped by what he accomplished. On behalf of NBC News, I extend our deepest sympathies to Walter’s family and his CBS colleagues.”

• Tom Brokaw, former anchor, NBC Nightly News:

“Walter Cronkite became the most famous journalist in America and the most trusted man in the country because he cared so passionately about the place of a free press in a democratic republic. From the time he left Texas as a young man to cover World War II to the end of his life he had no higher calling than the title journalist – and for those of us who followed it was his high standard that became our lodestar.

Walter was the competition to those of us at NBC News but as a competitor, he made us better.

On a personal note, it was privilege to know him as a friend – to share an anecdote, a drink, dinner and a laugh, always a laugh. I will always treasure my time with Walter and his late wife, Betsy.

This is a sad day but we were so fortunate to have him as a fellow citizen for as long as we did.”