RIP Walter Cronkite! In the summer 1992, I was told by an assistant that I had a phone call, and that “unless the person on the phone was kidding, that it was someone claiming to be Walter Cronkite.”
ABC's John Stossel, DPA director Ethan Nadelmann, Mr. and Mrs. Cronkite and Ira Glasser
I took the call and it was in fact Mr. Cronkite, who wanted to talk about his concerns regarding America’s so-called ‘war on drugs’. We talked for about half an hour and he asked me to fax him some data and/or reports to support some of the information I’d related to him regarding arrest rates, racial disparity and I think the efficacy of medical cannabis. As he related his fax number to me I recognized the exchange as coming from Dukes County, MA (which is principally Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Islands). I told Mr. Cronkite that I had grown up in close proximity to his locale, across Nantucket Sound in the Cape Cod town of Chatham. That sparked an additional half hour conversation about striped bass, giant Atlantic bluefin tuna and the importance of knowing where you derive pleasure.
All in all, a most pleasant conversation with a journalist I’d grown up watching and had always generally respected.
I was heartened some years later when Walter Cronkite started speaking out strongly against the war on some drugs, including doing fundraising letters and videos for the Drug Policy Alliance.
By: Allen St. Pierre
July 17, 2009