Skip to comments.Walter Cronkite's influence on Generation X (Generation Cronkite)
Posted on 07/27/2009 2:23:23 PM PDT by Colonel Kangaroo
The sad news of the death of former correspondent and newscaster Walter Cronkite gripped the entire nation last week and continues to do so. Many generations are grieving for the man who brought the truth of living history into our homes and into our lives. Each generation has its own vision of the man who became affectionately known as Uncle Walter.
To the older generations, born during the Great Depression and prior, he first gained national attention by reporting firsthand on the struggle of World War II. His coverage of the war included North Africa and Europe, where he participated in a combat bombing mission over Germany, and continued all of the way through the Nuremburg trials.
To the next generation, the baby boomers, he brought tragedy and triumph right into their homes in a way never before captured. Kennedy, Vietnam and the lunar landing of Apollo 11 were the great events for this wave of Americans. For the first time, Americans had nightly access to a war via the television. Everyone in the country acknowledged the truth and merit of Walter Cronkites observations. Even President Lyndon B. Johnson, upon hearing Cronkite add rare commentary to a report on Vietnam in which he stated that it was a war we could not possibly win, exclaimed, "If I've lost Walter Cronkite, I've lost Middle America."
However, the last generation to know him as a newsman on CBS every night, Generation X, had him for only a few years, but even so, he made a lasting impression on many if not all of us. We were young, very young and only starting to become fully engaged with the events of the world around us when he was forced into retirement by CBS. Events like Watergate and his role in helping the Washington Posts investigative reporting receive the full attention it deserved may or may not be remembered by those within our generation. Nevertheless Walter Cronkites unceasing duty to the truth let all know that there is a proverbial candle in the dark despite the attempts that are made so often to extinguish it.
Despite my youth at the time, I can remember that no matter the belief or politics of the older generations around me, they all looked up to Cronkites fierce commitment to informed and factual reporting. His legacy was one of educating and enlightening rather than manipulating and entertaining his audience. As I grew older and started to actually watch the news, Cronkite truly became an uncle to me as he had done for those before me. As the corporate media was growing around all of the news outlets, he appeared unflappable against the change.
It was ironic that for a man who spent his life reporting the news without making himself the news his own retirement would become the news. Mandatory retirement at age 65 was a standard practice at the time with most corporations, and even Cronkite was no exception. Even so, the uproar that this caused CBS created the change in forced retirement policies nationwide.
We of Generation X are now preparing to take our positions as leaders in the world. The sitting President of the United States is a late baby boomer, although some consider him a Gen Xer. If he is not, the next president may very well be one. In taking this charge, I hope those of my generation will carry a duty of the truth which Cronkite taught us. Though we did not have his tutelage for long, the lessons learned carry a weight far beyond their measure of time.
This babyboomer Vietnam vet thinks Cronkite was and is sh*t!
Thought it when I was there and think the same now.
Did they bury Uncle Walt someplace in France?
Sorry, I'm about as un-gripped as possible.
1. Hosting “You Are There” on Saturday mornings.
2. His myopic American body count during the Vietnam War.
3 My father proclaiming at a high decibel level that Cronkite was, “nothing but a Goddamn communist” and was to be replaced by John Chancellor and NBC.
by the way...my father was right.
Your Father was D@MN right!
Born in 1957 punk! /s
I was born in 1958 and I do remember Cronkite very well. But as far as him having a real effect on me, I really can’t say that.
Horse Sh*t. Generation X is commonly referred to as the Generation following the The Baby Boomers, (1946-1964)AKA “The Greatest Pain in the Ass Generation.”
Generation X is generally referred as those born between 1965 - 1980. The members of this generation would have ranged in age from a maximum age of 16 and a minimum age of less than 1 year old at the time that Cronkite retired. The one thing that all Baby boomers have in common is a conscious memory of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush as presidents, and the fall of the Soviet Union.
The idea that anyone in My generation would be morning the loss of a person whom they had little to no conscious memory of is ridiculous on its face.
Chancellor was even farther to the left.
The article is an example of the typical broad brush “generation” nonsense which tries to link a whole group of people into a category of virtue or vice due to the accident of a similar birth year and bound together by some person or symbol of mass media triviality such as Cronkite. The fact the the cultural symbol here is a deceased leftist newsreader makes this piece even more hilarious than most of the genre.
I agree. I was in diapers when Cronkite retired as anchor. Generation X grew up with Dan Rather an anchor of CBS news.
That could be an effective argument for labeling Generation X as "Generation Rather".
Walter Cronkite mainstreamed lying by the MSM.
I was born in 1956. I thought most of the Boomers were jerks then, and I feel that way now. I hated all the conflict, screaming, and sarcasm they threw at everyone back then. I was so tired of “My Generation.”
I used to turn the news off because I couldn’t bear watching our soldiers struggle in that awful situation. When I heard Cronkite had died I felt absolutely nothing. He had no impact on me at all.
The leftists have shown how much they’ve idolized MJ and Uncle Walter. MJ might have been the crazier, but Uncle Walter was far more destructive.
Cronkite reitred in 1981. I was 13 at that time. I have faint memories of watching him. I suppose I can be called more Generation Rather in a weird way. I realized as I grew older, say before I graduated from college, how biased Rather and his ilk were and he turned me off to watching network news forever.
The reason I say this is that I always have held the opinion that if I could not tell what a journalist political leanings were then I really didn't care what they were. It was to their credit that they kept their opinions out of their journalism. When Chancellor was doing the nightly broadcast for NBC I generally found him to be fair. After Tom Brokaw became the anchor Chancellor would appear frequently to give editorials. Those editorials were unquestionably liberal but again as long as they were presented as opinion I didn't care (much).
Juxtapose Chancellor with his frequent fill-in anchor Garrick Utley and the issue became more resolved. Utley parsed any story he could into "Democrats are good and Republicans are evil" stories.
I felt the same about Tom Brokaw, considering him liberal but fair until his infamous Mother Jones interview.
Walter Cronkite, John Kerry, Jane Fonda, and many others like them bear a large part of the burden of having caused the deaths and brutalization of many South Vietnamese in re-eduction camps, deaths of many more fleeing communist tyranny as Boat People, and the deaths of millions in the Killing Fields of Cambodia.
Walter was a newsreader with a warm, assuring, grandfatherly persona. Don’t mistake his having this for a reason for him to be someone you should like.
Article in today’s Sioux Falls Argus Leader (sorry they prohibit links) that George McGovern seriously considered asking Walter Cronkite to be his vice presidential running mate in 1972. Cronkite later is to have said he would have accepted McGovern’s offer.
Your dad was right, Artemis.
I was born in 1954 and grew to dislike and distrust Cronkite during and after the mid 1960s.
Was I the only one to notice Uncle Walt’s eager underlings, Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Sam Donaldson, et al each doing their repetitive doom and gloom reports from Khe Sahn. With each of the reporters doing their pieces in front of the still smodering wreckage of the same C-130 that had been hit by mortars day earlier?
I pray for Walt’s family, but don’t mourn his passing, since he’s answered to a higher authority.
I seriously doubt McGovern would have won anyway but the choice would have given him a much better chance of defeating Nixon than the whole Eagleton/Shriver affair.
This gen-x non-vet thinks Cronkite is sh*t too!
Yes me too. Even my liberal Mom and Dad didn’t like him because according to them “he lied a lot”.
Roger that. The pig was as responsible for the commies winning in Nam as anyone in the communist movement. He lied, lied, and lied more every night on TV about the war, what was going on. We WON Tet. To hear the pig talk, we lost like Pearl Harbor day.
This guy is full of it. Generation X had very little to do with Cronkite but since the writer is an Xer and liked Cronkite he wants to do the usual neat little generation packaging that the media does.