CBS's Schieffer Praises Cronkite, Ignores Allegations Late CBS Anchor Aided Vietnam Protestors

Bob Schieffer, CBS At the end of Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer gushed over a recent trip to the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and one exhibit in particular: "honoring Walter Cronkite....those moments in American history captured by TV...when Walter always seemed to be there....the little things we never saw, Walter's scripts, his pipe, and his office, just the way it was."

Schieffer observed that a tribute to Cronkite being at the library of the Democratic president was a "perfect fit" and noted how: "Johnson liked and respected Walter. Walter liked and respected Johnson." Schieffer went on to fondly remember Cronkite's denunciation of the Vietnam War: "When Walter returned from Vietnam and concluded in a documentary the war was unwinnable, Johnson remarked to an aide, 'if I've lost Cronkite, I've lost America.' And so he had....When Walter came out against the war, he did something he almost never did – he took sides."

While specifically citing Cronkite's bias against the war, Schieffer failed to comment on a Friday report that revealed FBI documents detailing allegations that the then CBS Evening News anchor offered to rent a helicopter to transport Democratic Senator Ed Muskie to an anti-war rally in Florida in November of 1969.   

Instead, Schieffer admitted: "Walter was the person I always wanted to be when I was a very young reporter, the person I'm still trying to be, truth be told."

He concluded his commentary by making a ringing endorsement: "Visit the Johnson Library this summer. It's a fascinating experience, one of the best of the presidential libraries and the Cronkite exhibit makes it even better."

Here is a full transcript:
10:54AM

BOB SCHIEFFER: Finally today, I was at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas this weekend for the opening of an exhibit honoring Walter Cronkite. The exhibit has it all, those moments in American history captured by TV. The Kennedy assassination, the moonwalks, the interviews with presidents, when Walter always seemed to be there. Plus the little things we never saw, Walter's scripts, his pipe, and his office, just the way it was.

That the exhibit is at the LBJ Library to me is the perfect fit. Johnson liked and respected Walter. Walter liked and respected Johnson. And history will always link them. When Walter returned from Vietnam and concluded in a documentary the war was unwinnable, Johnson remarked to an aide, 'if I've lost Cronkite, I've lost America.' And so he had.

Touring the exhibit brought back many memories for me. Johnson was the first politician I ever saw. I was 11-years-old, and he was campaigning for the Senate in 1948. And Walter was the person I always wanted to be when I was a very young reporter, the person I'm still trying to be, truth be told.

When Walter came out against the war, he did something he almost never did – he took sides. And I am going to do something I almost never do – offer a vacation tip. Visit the Johnson Library this summer. It's a fascinating experience, one of the best of the presidential libraries and the Cronkite exhibit makes it even better.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC