CBS News chief: Cronkite had sway

July 18, 2009 at 9:28 AM
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NEW YORK, July 18 (UPI) -- Today's young U.S. media consumers have a hard time comprehending the sway Walter Cronkite had on the country, CBS News President Sean McManus says.

McManus, in an interview with Saturday's New York Times, said he struggled to describe to his own children an era in which the media was not yet fragmented, and how longtime "CBS Evening News" anchor Cronkite, who died Friday at age 92, dominated the industry.

"There probably will never be anybody who has the presence and the stature and the importance that Walter Cronkite had in this country," McManus said he told his children, ages 8 and 10. "I tried to explain to them that most people in America expected to get both good and bad news from one man, and that was Walter Cronkite. That will never be duplicated again."

McManus told the Times that young people are now so assaulted by constant streams of media it's hard for them to imagine a time when only four television networks provided most Americans' only visual connection to the wider world.

The CBS News chief said Cronkite paid an unannounced call to the newsroom in Manhattan a little more than a year ago.

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