New Bio Reveals Former CBS Anchor Walter Cronkite Far More Biased Than Widely Believed

May 22nd, 2012 2:41 PM

A new biography of legendary CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite reveals some amazing facts about Cronkite's liberal bias and various transgressions of journalistic ethics which expose the falsity of the establishment media's carefully-crafted image of neutrality.

As Jonathan S. Tobin wrote for Commentary, the revelations about Cronkite undermine “the mainstream media’s myth about its own impartiality” before the birth of Fox News. If you believe the self-described mainstream media, it is Fox News which is irredeemably biased and not themselves:

"The days when national news was the dominion of three networks and a few major newspapers is portrayed as Eden before the fall, an era when partisanship of the kind that is now both familiar and expected was unknown. A key element to this fairy tale is the idea that the journalistic icons of the time, like CBS’s Walter Cronkite, were Olympian figures who would never stoop to play favorites or inject ideology into the news," Tobin writes.

"But this view is totally false. As media news analyst Howard Kurtz writes in the Daily Beast, a new biography of Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley spills the beans on the godlike anchorman’s unethical practices, including blatant partisanship that would make the conservative talkers on Fox and the liberals on MSNBC blush. It wasn’t Fox that poisoned the well of journalism, as former New York Times editor Bill Keller recently alleged. Fox and other such outlets were brought into existence in an effort to balance a journalistic establishment that was already tilting heavily to the left. The real sin here is not bias or even partisanship but the pretense of fairness that Cronkite exemplified.”

Tobin notes that the new information about Cronkite “gives the lie to the notion that the pre-Fox era was one in which non-partisan fairness ruled the airwaves,” adding that, according to Brinkley's book, “Cronkite’s partisanship against Republicans (especially Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon) and in favor of liberal Democrats was so open that it must now seem shocking that he was rarely called out about it." 

According to the book, during the time he was anchoring the CBS Evening News, Cronkite secretly begged liberal senator Bobby Kennedy to run for president and then later interviewed Kennedy about his plans, never disclosing his private pleadings. That's not all, however, Cronkite planted recording devices inside the Republican Party's convention in 1952 and then later had the audacity to go after president Richard Nixon for Watergate.

In 2009, it was revealed that Cronkite, who was open about his bias against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, was even willing to provide, free-of-charge, a helicopter to ferry Vietnam War critic Edmund Muskie to an anti-war rally.

Of course, Cronkite's bias was not a complete secret even back when he was on the air. People who were paying attention could see it. My colleagues here at the Media Research Center even wrote a book, published in 1990 when Cronkite was still working as an analyst for CBS, called And That's the Way It Isn't lampooning Cronkite's smug nightly signoff for his newscast.

People close to Cronkite knew he was liberal, and knew about his ethical lapses. But they covered for him – and were successful in doing so because there was no alternative to the corporate liberal mass media back when Cronkite ruled the airwaves.

Even liberal Democrats, though they likely wouldn't have admitted it publicly, realized that Cronkite was a liberal. They even considered nominating him to be the running mate of disastrously liberal presidential candidate George McGovern. The anchor apparently was not asked during the campaign, however, on the fear that he might say no. Asked later if he'd have refused, however, Cronkite said “I'd have accepted in a minute; anything to help end that dreadful war.”

That's the real news in the new Cronkite biography, a story showing how today's media landscape is a vast improvement over the days when three TV networks and a few elite newspapers controlled the news.

Given the facts revealed in Brinkley's book, Cronkite's career simply would not survive today under the scrutiny and withering criticism he would no doubt receive from countless grassroots new-media news outlets and independent bloggers.

He would have been done in by an army of citizen journalists exposing his biases and ethical lapses through a painstaking vetting of Cronkite's work and liberal connections. The results of those investigations would then spread via social media as countless outraged Americans used Facebook posts and Twitter hashtag games to spread the news that the #TheMostTrustedManInAmerica was just another liberal media deception.

No wonder so many of Cronkite's liberal successors in the legacy media long for the days when a liberal shill as biased as Cronkite wasn't ever widely held to account.

For more reference on some of the outrageous liberal statements said by Cronkite over the years, click here.