Aug. 05, 2009
The most trusted man in America appears to have helped spread some mistaken news about himself.
Turns out, there's no evidence to confirm the claim that newscasters in Sweden or Holland had been nicknamed "cronkiters."
The first journalist to publish the myth was Pulitzer-prize-winning author David Halberstam in 1976, who wrote that "in Sweden, anchormen came to be known as Cronkiters." The claim also showed up in a history of CBS News and the Encyclopedia of Television.
And Cronkite himself wrote about it in his 1996 memoir "A Reporter's Life." The Associated Press published the claim last month in its obituary.
Radio Netherlands Worldwide's Expert Desk, however, says no one there has heard the term.
Visual Thesaurus' Ben Zimmer started to dig into the myth after Cronkite's death and told public radio's "On the Media," he couldn't find "any evidence in Swedish, Dutch or any other language that news anchors were ever called Cronkiters."