Pbs To Air Cronkite Tribute; Rather A No-show
PBS plans to air a one-hour tribute to former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite on its American Masters series on July 26, with Katie Couric narrating, to celebrate his 90th birthday. The program, "Walter Cronkite: Witness to History," will feature interviews with a bevy of journalists including (in alphabetical order), Ben Bradlee, Tom Brokaw, David Frost, David Halberstam, Molly Ivins, Robert MacNeil, Bill Moyers, Andy Rooney, Morley Safer, Daniel Schorr, Lesley Stahl, Helen Thomas, Mike Wallace and Barbara Walters. Conspicuously absent from the list is Dan Rather, who succeeded Cronkite as anchor of the CBS Evening News. The New York Post said today (Friday) that Rather had refused to be interviewed for the documentary, quoting Catherine Tatge, who wrote, directed and produced the program, as saying, "I'm very sorry to say he declined twice. ... It's really a shame. I really tried, and I really am sorry because everyone else [said yes] and I've got an amazing group of people. They're all there, and everyone was very happy to do this." There have been numerous accounts over the year that after Cronkite stepped down as anchor of the nightly news program, Rather maneuvered to keep him off the network for good. It was not known whether such an account was to be included in the PBS documentary.