How Cable News Covered the Death of Walter Cronkite

By Chris Ariens 

As the special report on CBS came to an end at 8:21pm, the cable news networks began their coverage of the death of Walter Cronkite.

• CNN’s Campbell Brown began continuing coverage at 8:18pm and included phone interviews with Don Hewitt, Susan Zirinksy and former CBS Newsman, now CNN anchor John Roberts. At 9pmET, John King in for Larry King, continued the coverage which included an interview with Katie Couric from her CBS News studio. CNN remained with live coverage at 10pm replacing an AC360 special about Pres. Obama in Africa. John King continued in the anchor chair talking with Bob Schieffer and Morley Safer by phone, and Susan Zirinksy, from the CBS studio during which she held up the script from the CBS Evening News the night Pres. Richard Nixon resigned. Cronkite had thrown it in the trash that night, and Zirinksy pulled it out and has kept it since.

• Anchor Jon Scott broke in to The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News at 8:19 and continued with live coverage until 10pm preempting Hannity. When Scott signed off just before 10, he said Fox was dedicating the Greta Van Sustern Apollo 11 special in memory of Waler Cronkite. Scott returned for updates during the special’s commercial breaks. Scott’s guests included Chris Wallace, Brit Hume, Barbara Walters and Linda Mason an SVP at CBS News who was Cronkite’s first female producer on the Evening News.

• David Shuster, filling in on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, reported the news at 8:19 and returned live at 10pm to anchor. Rachel Maddow hosted her show at 9pm and was accompanied for most of the hour by Dan Rather, the man who replaced Cronkite on the CBS Evening News in 1981. Other guests included Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw.