Just over 48 years ago, on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered in Memphis.
“Breaking news” was different then than it is now on social media. If any network broke into the regularly scheduled programming, it was something massively important, possibly life-altering for many of our citizens.
When something went down that CBS, NBC, or ABC considered that huge, news anchors like Walter Cronkite would often hurriedly gather themselves, and the story, and — with a quick makeup job and a comb run through their hair, maybe a quick clothing changeout in order to match the mood of the moment — do their job in a consummately professional manner.
That certainly happened here; the racially charged atmosphere of Spring, 1968 was already red-hot, and pretty much everybody knew when they heard the news of MLK’s death that it would explode across the country. As, indeed, it did.
But watch Walter Cronkite, who was just finishing up the evening news broadcast when the news broke, which he was listening to via ear plug as the network took a commercial break to find out more. That plug is what he is shown pulling out just in time to deliver the somber news to an anxious nation.