Bill Kurtis Looks Back On The Life Of Walter Cronkite

CHICAGO (CBS) — He was the quintessential newsman – tough and straight-forward, but not afraid to let his emotions show.

For decades, CBS’ Walter Cronkite brought events that shaped the world to the living rooms of millions. That’s “the way it was.”

Now “the most trusted man in America” is the subject of a new documentary on the Decades TV Network. It’s called “Eyes on the World: The Rise of Walter Cronkite and the Evening News.”

A from one legend to another, Bill Kurtis knew Walter Cronkite.

Chicago newsman Bill Kurtis was a West Coast correspondent with CBS when Walter Cronkite was at the anchor desk.

“We need him now more than ever,” he laughed. “What a time it is now. We’re going to go back and look at an anchorman, what made an anchorman and why he was so influential and significant in the world of journalism.”

Kurtis said Cronkite was America’s great communicator, a link to the world in the 1960s and 70’s.

“He did it with the passion of a founder. He was really the founder. He took over the CBS Evening News in 1963,” Kurtis said.

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy, The Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and Watergate, Cronkite was the messenger to millions.

“TV news was really in its birth in the 60’s. Nobody told us how to cover a civil rights movement, or a riot or a war you just put the camera on the shoulder and go out. Television people back then were writing the rules and Walter was the CEO,” he said.

In 1972, Walter Cronkite was widely declared “the most trusted man in America.”

“He was really the first to make sense of Watergate,” recalls Kurtis. “It was the first time anyone devoted, let’s say, ten minutes of the evening news to a single story. It became some what more understandable to people,” Kurtis said.

“Eyes On The World: The Rise of Walter Cronkite and the Evening News” also takes a look at what’s changed since his tenure and how the news has evolved.

“The question you might ask today is what would Walter do? What would he do and how would he handle it.”

The two-hour documentary will air on Friday, Nov. 3 and Monday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. on the Decades TV Network, Comcast 338 in Chicago.

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