August 08, 2005

Peter Jennings, RIP

Peter Jennings died tonight of lung cancer. Jennings was my favorite anchor, and while I didn't watch his broadcast regularly (it was too early to catch given work schedules), I always thought of him as the best of the lot. This is likely not surprising, given that Jennings was more interested in foreign affairs, it's probably fair to say, than Brokaw or Rather or many of the mediocrities that pass for anchors on CNN or Fox today. I also had the chance to meet Jennings in his offices in New York after graduating college. I was thinking of a career in journalism, and was somehow able to get a meeting with him to gets some tips and pointers. While I ended up doing humanitarian work in the Balkans and then going down the well worn path to law school, it was of course generous for him to share a few minutes with me, and he was obviously a man in love with his craft and career. The kind of journalism and anchoring that Jennings did--intellectually honest and judicious, delivered with a steely calm (rather than the shrill hysterics or 'emo-anchoring' now in vogue) appears a dying breed today. Ditto the extensive focus on international news--as today so many overseas news bureaus are being shut down and fewer correspondents are based abroad. This is a shame not least because--just as much if not more than during the Cold War--developments in regions like the Middle East and Asia will be major determinants on our lives at home. And, alas, there are fewer people around capable of explaining these developments to us today in sober, cogent fashion like Peter Jennings could. He will be missed by many.

Posted by Gregory at August 8, 2005 05:29 AM | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Greg - does it not concern you that the majority of your readership probably has nothing but raw contempt for the "liberal media" and anybody associated with it? Is there a place for "intellectually honest and judicious" journalists among today's conservatives?

Posted by: Mads Kvalsvik at August 8, 2005 05:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I was thinking when I heard of Jennings' passing, how many television journalists have used him as a model to emulate?

I don't know the answer to that question. One would think that at ABC if nowhere else there would be plenty, but I've seen enough of the on-air talent there to wonder. Jennings, as Greg says, was more into foreign affairs than some television journalists, and was also less given to really pushing emotional, "inspirational" stories as so many of them -- I have to say especially the female ones -- are today. He was probably the best-liked of the big 3 network anchors; someone more familiar with the business than I am will have to say whether he was merely the product of an earlier age or a journalist who left a more substantial legacy.

Posted by: JEB at August 8, 2005 05:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I almost started this comment by saying yeah and Moe was the smartest of The Three Stooges, too, but on reflection I agree he did try harder to be fair than the other two. That's why his occasional outbursts, like saying the 1994 elections were a temper tantrum for angry white males, really revealed how totally out of step the MSM was and is.

Posted by: wayne at August 8, 2005 09:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

What are you talking about? Jennings was anti-American and openly anti-Israel too.See Frontpagemagazine.com for details. Anyone who was really watching this guy"s act shouldn't have to be told, Jennings was no journalist. He was a liberal, partisan guy with a definite ax to grind. A journalist,-even a t.v. anchor-should not be pushing his own agenda.

Posted by: howard at August 12, 2005 01:56 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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