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Walter Cronkite, a real journalist, sounds off on Iraq

Uncle Walter knows what he’s talking about — he knew when Vietnam was too far gone and the truth wasn’t being told by the Pentagon. [He even has a journalism school in his name; perhaps some of today’s lazy journalists should consider some refresher classes]. In the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Cronkite tells it “the way it is.”

“The public’s reaction to Vietnam is going to be peanuts when compared to Iraq if it’s not settled soon,” he said during a media forum on Fisher Island held to benefit the Fisher Island Philanthropic Fund. “The war is tearing us apart.”

During hour-long remarks, Cronkite also spoke out on the presidential election, the national debt and the state of television journalism.

Cronkite, 88, who spent years as a foreign correspondent and covered World War II and the Nuremberg trials for United Press, said the outcome of the presidential election only added to a tense atmosphere in the nation.

“We have one party controlling the White House, House of Representatives and its subsidiaries,” Cronkite said. “The nation’s severely unbalanced.”

The former anchorman said he was pleased with election coverage but noted the press was reluctant to point out fallacies in the candidates’ arguments. He was also quick to criticize the Bush administration’s tactics in dealing with the media.

“They’re not interested in communicating with the public,” he said. “They lock up what they don’t want the public to know.”

Still, Cronkite said he was optimistic about the future of the nation.

“I have faith in this country and somehow we are going to make this work,” he said.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding