Watch video highlights of Walter Cronkite's career

A look back at some of the most famous moments of the CBS icon's broadcasts

By Mike Madden
July 18, 2009 7:18AM (UTC)
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The days of mass audiences for network newscasts may be over, but there was a time when Walter Cronkite could be described as "the most trusted man in America" without any irony. The CBS icon, who died Friday night at the age of 92, delivered the news to millions of people each night. Watch some video highlights of his most famous moments on the air below. You can also see CBS's report Friday night on Cronkite's death here.

1963: John F. Kennedy's assassination


Cronkite had interviewed Kennedy two months before the president was killed in Dallas, launching the new, 30-minute "CBS Evening News" broadcast. Announcing his death, he nearly lost his composure and had to pause.

1968: Vietnam War

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Cronkite's pronouncement that the Vietnam War had become "a stalemate" helped convince President Lyndon B. Johnson that public opinion was turning against him. "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost America," Johnson reportedly said after seeing the CBS editorial.

1968: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination


Under Cronkite's direction, CBS had covered the civil rights movement as it evolved. "Walter was one of the few people in power positions that got behind that and pushed the story," filmmaker Spike Lee told WCBS in New York.

1969: Apollo 11 moon landing


For years, Cronkite had followed NASA's space exploration enthusiastically. As Apollo 11 took off on its mission, he had urged it on: "Go, baby, go!" He stayed on the air for 27 of the lunar landing's 30 hours.

1981: Final broadcast


On March 6, 1981, Cronkite signed off the air for the final time, making way at age 65 for Dan Rather to take over. As always, his final words were, "And that's the way it is."

Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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