The memorial service for Walter Cronkite took place Wednesday morning at 10:30 am, in New York City’s Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Remembered as “the most trusted man in America,” the venerated anchor died this summer on July 17th from complications related to dementia. He was 92 years old.
His memorial service featured a star-studded lineup of speakers, including President Obama, who attended the memorial before returning to Washington to deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday evening.
With an air of lament, the President expressed his hope that the journalistic values Cronkite held will continue to govern the profession.
“We know that this is a difficult time for journalism. Even as appetites for news and information grow, newsrooms are closing.”
“And too often, we fill that void with instant commentary and celebrity gossip and the softer stories that Walter disdained, rather than the hard news and investigative journalism he championed,” the President continued. “‘What happened today?’ is replaced with ‘Who won today?’ The public debate cheapens.”
“Would [Cronkite] have been able to cut through the murky noise of the blogs and the tweets and the sound bites to shine the bright light on substance?” the President asked.
The President concluded, “If we choose to live up to Walter’s example, if we realize that the kind of journalism he embodied will not simply rekindle itself as part of a natural cycle, but will come alive only if we stand up and demand it and resolve to value it once again, then I’m convinced that the choice between profit and progress is a false one — and that the golden days of journalism still lie ahead.”