Walter Cronkite Reported Climate Change Warnings 35 Years Ago

Walter Cronkite warned of a new ice age and looming global warming decades ago. The American broadcast journalist came into the homes of millions of Americans as the anchor newscaster for CBS Evening News for 19 years.

According to a story by CBS News, Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr. was named “the most trusted man in America” in a 1972 poll.

Cronkite, a journalism pioneer covered historical events, including the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, John Lennon, and Martin Luther King Jr. He also reported on the Vietnam War, World War II bombings, Watergate, and the United States’ moon landing.

On two occasions, Cronkite broadcasted news about an impending new ice age and potential climate change.

On the CBS Evening News television broadcast on September 11, 1972, Walter Cronkite started with “a bit of bad news” based on predictions from English climatologist Dr. Hubert Lamb.

Walter Cronkite offered some reassurance in the following comment to his television audience.

“But then there is some good news. That while the weather may be just a little colder in the immediate years to come, the full extent of the new ice age won’t be reached for 10,000 years. And if you can stand any more good news, even then it won’t be as bad as the last ice age 60,000 years ago. Then New York, Cincinnati, St. Louis, were under 5,000 feet of ice. Presumably, no traffic moved and school was let out for the day. And that’s the way it is, Monday, September 11, 1972.”

In another television broadcast on April 3, 1980, nearly 35 years ago, Walter Cronkite provided his television viewing audience with a story by Nelson Benson, another CBS news veteran. The narrative touched on issues like the greenhouse effect, CO2 emission, and global warming.

It appears that Walter Cronkite tried to warn viewers of an impending climate change.

According to Capital Network, most TV viewers are not interested in climate change. For example, the New York media source cites comments made by CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker.

The network executive offered his opinion on why coverage of climate change is so sparse on their broadcasts.

“Climate change is one of those stories that deserves more attention, that we all talk about, but we haven’t figured out how to engage the audience in that story in a meaningful way. When we do do those stories, there does tend to be a tremendous amount of lack of interest on the audience’s part.”

That’s the way it is. Exactly what do television viewers prefer to watch on television? What do people find most interesting on the world wide web?

CBS News reported the following comment about Walter Cronkite made by U.S. President Barack Obama.

“For decades, Walter Cronkite was the most trusted voice in America. His rich baritone reached millions of living rooms every night, and in an industry of icons, Walter set the standard by which all others have been judged.”

As Walter Cronkite put it in his final broadcast, “Old anchormen, you see, don’t fade away; they just keep coming back for more. And that’s the way it is.”

[Photo via Saxon/AP]