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Is Brian Williams The Walter Cronkite Of The 21st Century?

06/02/2010 10:10 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Is Brian Williams the new Walter Cronkite?

That's the claim MarketWatch's Jon Friedman makes in his latest column.

Friedman, who admits that he did not immediately take to Williams when he succeeded Tom Brokaw as the anchor of "NBC Nightly News," writes that Williams "towers above the competition" and "has established himself as the Walter Cronkite of the 21st century."

Calling Williams "the most under-appreciated journalist of his time," Friedman argues that he has "re-define[d] what a news anchor can do" by showing his softer side in late-night appearances and on "Saturday Night Live."

Last year, Williams received an award named after Cronkite from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At the time, he argued that Cronkite wouldn't have broken-through in today's media environment.

"I am convinced that had he come along today, I don't think he would have cracked through. I think there's too much noise, too much to cut through for a modest man from Missouri," Williams said. "But God and history combined to give him to us right when we needed him."

Diane Sawyer will receive this year's Cronkite Award in November.

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