...for the life of Walter Cronkite, the United States TV news presenter who has died at the age of 92. Although Cronkite was relatively little-known in Europe his long spell with CBS News from 1962-81 established certain principles of TV news reporting that have been widely influential. The American term for his job -- “anchorman” -- conveyed the idea that his personality held together an often disparate collection of news items of all kinds and ensured that they were given the same quality of serious treatment.

Although Cronkite always resisted the idea that he was an analyst or interpreter of the news, his influence was undoubtedly felt behind the camera where he also acted as editor. As a result there was a greater depth to his presentation of the news than was to be found in the earlier BBC tradition of TV “news reading”. Cronkite had enormous influence as a man who could be trusted. When he reported in 1968 that the Vietnam war had become a stalemate and that the US should negotiate with the North Vietnamese government, President Johnson told an aide, “If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America.”.

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