The 2000s were not kind to aging leftwing spokespersons; Bush Derangement Syndrome poisoned the last decade of the lives of Helen Thomas, Gore Vidal, and Kurt Vonnegut; Cronkite was no exception. Brinkley, of course, championed John Kerry in the 2004 election via Tour of the Duty, which the Weekly Standard described at the time as “his famously sycophantic biography” of the arch-leftist senator. Despite the 832-page length of his Cronkite biography, Brinkley leaves out one of Cronkite’s strangest moments before retiring as an elder spokesman for the legacy media he helped to shape, for both better and worse: his October 29, 2004 appearance on CNN’s Lary King Live. A videotape had just surfaced of Osama Bin Laden, and when King asked Cronkite his take, the latter man replied, “I’m a little inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a very clever man, that he probably set up bin Laden to this thing.” He seemed to imply that Rove was keeping OBL on ice until needed, perhaps alongside Jim Morrison, Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Hoffa, and Judge Crater. Was he kidding? Was he serious? It was a deeply weird moment for a man once known for his avuncluar clarity.