CBS Statements on the Death of Walter Cronkite

By Chris Ariens 

• Sean McManus, President, CBS News and Sports:

“It is impossible to imagine CBS News, journalism or indeed America without Walter Cronkite. More than just the best and most trusted anchor in history, he guided America through our crises, tragedies and also our victories and greatest moments. No matter what the news event was, Walter was always the consummate professional with an un-paralleled sense of compassion, integrity, humanity, warmth, and occasionally even humor. There will never be another figure in American history who will hold the position Walter held in our minds, our hearts and on the television. We were blessed to have this man in our lives and words cannot describe how much he will be missed by those of us at CBS News and by all of America.”

• Katie Couric, anchor and managing editor, CBS Evening News, correspondent, 60 Minutes:

“When I think of Walter Cronkite, I think of his high journalism standards, integrity – but most of all his humanity. I think he was so trusted because he exhibited a sense of purpose and compassion, night after night. He was the personification of excellence.”

• Don Hewitt, executive producer, CBS News, creator of 60 Minutes and Cronkite’s first executive producer on the CBS Evening News:

“How many news organizations get the chance to bask in the sunshine of a half-century of Edward R. Murrow followed by a half century of Walter Cronkite?”

• Andy Rooney, 60 Minutes commentator:

“I’ve been proud over the years to see Walter become, not just one of the best known people on television but one of the best known people in the whole world of people. He was proud of me, too and there’s no better feeling in life than that. I wouldn’t trade Walter Cronkite liking me for just about anything I’ve ever had.”

Statements from Les Moonves, Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, Rick Kaplan, Susan Zirinksy, Charles Osgood, and more…

• Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation:

“It is with enormous sadness that we mark the death of Walter Cronkite. His passing is, of course, a major loss for journalism. He was a great broadcaster and a gentleman whose experience, honesty, professionalism and style defined the role of anchor and commentator. For almost two exciting and turbulent decades during the 1960s and 1970s he helped inform our nation, and bring us together. In so doing, he transcended his field to become the most trusted man in America. The legacy he left us all will endure. It was one of the great honors of my career to have had the opportunity to know him.”

• Mike Wallace, 60 MINUTES correspondent emeritus:

“We were proud to work with him – for him – we loved him.”

• Morley Safer, 60 Minutes correspondent:

“Walter was truly the father of television news. The trust that viewers placed in him was based on the recognition of his fairness, honesty and strict objectivity…and of course his long experience as a shoe-leather reporter covering everything from local politics to World War II and its aftermath in the Soviet Union. He was a giant of journalism and privately one of the funniest, happiest men I’ve ever known.”

• Charles Osgood, anchor SUNDAY MORNING, CBS RADIO “The Osgood File”:

“There was a reason why Walter was called the most trusted man in America. Nothing was more important to him than getting the story right and telling it fairly, and he expected the same of us. I’ve learned a lot from wonderful colleagues here at CBS News, but from him most of all.”

• Jeff Fager, executive producer, 60 MINUTES:

“Walter Cronkite reached heights that will be almost impossible to match. It’s unimaginable when you consider his achievements – a journalist who was the most trusted man in America. He made us proud of who we were and what we did, and always with an extraordinary dignity and humility.”

• Linda Mason, Senior Vice President, Standards and Special Projects:

“I was the first woman producer on the CBS EVENING NEWS, and Walter could not have been more welcoming and more professional. I remember his great enthusiasm for almost every story he touched—from politics to space and even the good fire. Everything was new. When I had the opportunity to executive-produce a two-hour special on Cronkite as his career was winding down, I was again struck by how much he retained the common touch and how he regarded his career with wonder. I told him he was the Forrest Gump of the 20th century and he laughed.”

• Rick Kaplan, executive producer, CBS EVENING NEWS:

“Radio and television newsrooms all over America are filled with reporters and producers, writers and editors, who got into journalism for one reason: Walter Cronkite. He was a role model for so many of us. I grew up watching Walter on television, and it was the thrill of my life to finally meet him, and a privilege to spend six years producing pieces for him for the CBS EVENING NEWS. He set standards that we in broadcast journalism still strive to meet today. Walter Cronkite was, quite simply, the best. His legacy and his spirit will always be part of CBS News and wherever good journalism is practiced.”

• Susan Zirinsky, executive producer 48 HOURS:

“As a Washington researcher under Cronkite during Watergate, as a Washington producer for Cronkite, he pushed us all to never give up and always seek the truth. His energy and his passion were infectious. Cronkite made us all better at our jobs—he was the spine of CBS News and we were proud to be on his team.”