Speculation about the health of legendary CBS newsman Walter Cronkite bubbled to the surface this week, with reports on TVNewser and in New York Newsday that the network was scrambling to update his obituary.
The 92-year-old’s memory has been failing, and reporters who have interviewed him in the last few years can attest to that. But CBS News sources stressed that nothing was imminent. Cronkite is not in the hospital, but at home in New York.
CBS News declined official comment.
A native of Missouri, Cronkite began his career as a battlefield correspondent during World War II. He was recruited to come to CBS by Edward R. Murrow and began anchoring The CBS Evening News in 1962, when the newscast was still a 15-minute program. (It went to a half-hour in 1963.)
He tearfully delivered the news of John F. Kennedy’s death to the nation and was no less emotional when relaying the news of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
His questioning of the war in Vietnam was significant. Following one editorial that claimed the Tet Offensive was not winnable, President Johnson reportedly said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.”