Walter Cronkite said Monday he’s disappointed that his fellow broadcast veteran David Brinkley apologized for calling President Clinton “a bore.”
As a commentator, Brinkley is entitled to express his opinions, Cronkite said. Rather than apologize, he should have put Clinton on the spot.
“Why shouldn’t he have an opinion if he thinks the president is boring?” asked Cronkite, who retired in 1981 as the “CBS Evening News” anchor, in an interview with The Associated Press.
“If he’s not going to apologize, then the nice thing would have been if he had said, ‘Mr. President, you know now that I think you’re boring. You’ve got 10 minutes to prove me wrong.”’
Brinkley, who said on Election Night that Clinton was a bore who would spread “nonsense” for four more years, made amends during an interview with Clinton for his final “This Week with David Brinkley” show.
The 80-year-old Cronkite, whose memoirs are being published next month, said his former competitor had forgotten one of the first rules of broadcast journalism: Always assume the microphone is on.
“I can understand in a euphoria of retirement that you’re not thinking of the old rules any longer,” he said.
“It’s kind of like retreating in a war. When you go into combat, you’re ducking and dodging … When you’re retreating, you stand up and just go. You get shot in the back very easily.”