Mr. McManus added: “No matter what the news event was, Walter was always the consummate professional with an un-paralleled sense of compassion, integrity, humanity, warmth, and occasionally even humor. There will never be another figure in American history who will hold the position Walter held in our minds, our hearts and on the television. We were blessed to have this man in our lives and words cannot describe how much he will be missed by those of us at CBS News and by all of America.”
Mike Wallace, the “60 Minutes” correspondent emeritus, said simply in a statement, “We were proud to work with him — for him — we loved him.”
In a review of Mr. Cronkite’s autobiography in 1997, the former New York Times columnist Tom Wicker wrote:
When John F. Kennedy was murdered in Dallas in 1963, Walter Cronkite stayed on the air for the Columbia Broadcasting System for countless hours. His performance that weekend helped pull together a nation stricken with grief and was a signal event in television’s evolution into the national nervous system.
When Mr. Cronkite came back from Vietnam after the Tet offensive of 1968, he concluded on national television that the war had become no better than a stalemate. Hearing that, President Lyndon Johnson told associates, ”If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.” And he had. When Mr. Cronkite asked Robert Kennedy, then a senator from New York, whether he would run for President in 1968, Kennedy turned the tables: he proposed that Mr. Cronkite should run for the Senate. Mr. Cronkite refused, but the idea reflected polls showing that a journalist — a television journalist at that — had become the most trusted man in America.
For his exhaustive and enthusiastic coverage of NASA, Mr. Cronkite was sometimes called “the eighth astronaut.” During the first moon landing in 1969, Mr. Cronkite “was on the air for 27 of the 30 hours that Apollo 11 took to complete its mission,” The Museum of Broadcast Communications notes.