UnNews:Walter Cronkite dies of news overload

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19 July 2009

Walter Cronkite
Walter Cronkite, "And that's the way it is."

NEW YORK CITY, New York -- It is the end of an era in television news as legendary and iconic CBS anchor Walter Cronkite has died at the age of 92. Former CBS president Les Moonves says that the cause of Cronkite's death was "news overload."

He went on to say, "There's been a lot of shit happening in the news lately. Pushing Daisies was canceled, final episodes aired, and the season 2 DVD and Blu Ray will be released Tuesday, the same day as Zack Snyder's film adaptation of Watchmen. Daeg Faerch was replaced in Rob Zombie's upcoming Halloween II sequel with some younger, shorter kid who looks like an ugly girl. Tech nerds are criticizing Rob for ditching the 2.35:1 aspect ratio of his first Halloween in favor of the not-as-wide 1.85:1 ratio. That's about the same ratio as an HDTV! The Dark Knight was virtually snubbed at the Oscars! It's insane!

And speaking of insane, don't get me started on celebrity deaths! Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, Billy Mays, Bill Murray, Oscar Mayer [1], Academy Award winning actor Karl Malden, and, ironically, Death Himself! We also lost some football player guy; Pat Hingle, the guy who played Commissioner Gordon in the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher Batman movies, Ron Asheton from the Stooges, Lynyrd Skynyrd keyboardist Billy Powell, and the list goes on and on and on...

It was a fucking massacre, especially this month and last! And poor Walt just couldn't take this much news at one time at his old age. He will be missed dearly."

Born Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr. on November 4, 1916 in St. Joseph, MO, Cronkite dropped out of college in his junior year while taking on newspaper jobs. He did local broadcasts in Oklahoma City and Kansas City, MO.

In 1950 he was recruited by groundbreaking newsman Edward R. Murrow -- later famous for his feud with Joseph McCarthy -- and joined CBS news and soon anchored the CBS Evening News starting on April 16, 1962, succeeding Douglas Edwards. His lengthy tenure as a news anchor spanned almost the entire 20th century and covered everything from several presidential elections, the Nuremberg trials, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Beatlemania, the Vietnam War, the Charles Manson killings, moon landings, Woodstock, the Watergate scandal, the Iran hostage crisis, moonwalks, Moonlighting reruns, and stoned teenagers listening to Dark Side of the Moon while watching The Wizard of Oz.

On May 11, 1972, Cronkite became the first -- and, to date, only -- national news anchor to ever perform as the opening act for The Grateful Dead. A jam-band supergroup dubbed The News (not to be confused with the Huey Lewis band) -- Cronkite on guitar and vocals, Fred "Freddie" Van Amburg on shredding guitar, Gary England on bass, Dennis Richmond on keyboards, and Dave McElhatton on drums -- performed a 47-minute, 12-second rendition of the Grateful Dead song Dark Star. Cronkite was so phenomenal playing Jerry Garcia's guitar solo that the Grateful Dead left out of fear of paling in comparison. It would be The News's only notable performance, though they would play an occasional wedding or two before breaking up in 1973 to focus on their news careers.

Cronkite stepped down as CBS Evening News Anchor on March 6, 1981, succeeded by Dan Rather and that guy from Police Academy who makes those funny sound effects, who was fired on March 30 for making fart and gunshot noises while Rather was trying to read the headline about the Ronald Reagan assassination attempt.

Rather reflected on Cronkite Sunday, saying:

“Walter Cronkite was my mentor. Very professional, kind, warm, funny. He was like your uncle, Uncle Walter. I think with the bombardment of the recent slew of shocking celebrity deaths and other major events, I think the shit made his head spin... literally, and it unscrewed. I'm not a coroner, nor did I ever say I was, so I could be way off on this. These celebrity deaths are getting a bit ridiculous, and each new one becomes a parody of the last one. Who's next -- Karl Malden? Wait, he's already dead. I will miss Walt dearly.”
~ Dan Rather on Walter Cronkite

Walter Cronkite, dead at 92. A television and news icon, and that's the way it is.

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