Wednesday, July 22, 2009

President Cronkite

In 1981, Kurt Vonnegut wrote about Walter Cronkite for The Nation, soon after Cronkite had stepped down at CBS News. A piece:
I have seen Cronkite laugh like Father Christmas when he is told that he should run for President or Vice President or Senator. No one ever seems to mention a governorship or a seat in the House of Representatives. I have also noticed that nobody else laughs much at the joke, even when Cronkite explains it -- when he says that he is only a newsman, without any of the gifts and enthusiasms good leaders have. He intimated in a recent interview that he hadn't even aspired to be a big shot in television, that he would have been nearly as contented as he is today if he had remained what he was in the beginning -- a print journalist of no great fame. [...]

What makes it hard for others to laugh along with him is that this is the land of opportunity, and no one here is supposed to fail to snatch any opportunity that is unlucky enough to be caught in the open. Walter Cronkite could have been President of this country, just as George Washington in his own day could have become King. All he had to do was to lose his temper in public, and to pick a side:

"This is Walter Cronkite, born in Joplin, Missouri, and raised in Texas, and you all know me, and I am fed to the teeth with all the stupidity and greed I see in Washington. I can no longer sit by idly" and so on.
(Via Mark Athitakis)


Post a Comment

<< Home