I was stunned today to learn that Peter Jennings has lung cancer. Not nearly as stunned as he was, no doubt. He received the diagnosis earlier this week, he said on tonight's broadcast. It made me want to cry.
I'm no fan of the MSM. And the networks have become PR machines for the most part. Their personalities have not been the most endearing, either. Brokaw was solid but a bit stiff, like he was announcing a train schedule. Dan Rather just gave me the creeps. I remember when he started deliberately keeping his mouth just a bit open after finishing a sentence. It was strange, like someone said, "Don't keep your mouth closed!" and all he could do was think, "Don't keep your mouth closed!"
Brinkley was a rather amusing cantancerous old man, but I liked his delivery. When he retired and immediately went on the fat payroll of ADM and started advocating Frankenfoods, I lost all respect for him.
When Peter Jennings took his place, I was old enough to know that he was considered something of a lightweight. But I have to say that I've never really enjoyed any sound-bite broadcasts as much as his. Jennings has an easygoing style, without making what he's talking about lightweight at all. And the ABC broadcasts have been at least a bit critical of the radical conservatives.
Of course, my opinion must fall way out of the norms, since the average viewing age of the network news shows is 60! I'm not quite there yet. Someone pretty old must be watching to counterbalance my presence on that bell curve. Even so, I feel like the MSM is in danger of losing one of its more sane voices in news -- a voice that says, "Here's something to think about," without alarm, without fear-mongering, without sensationalism.
Peter will continue to do his nightly broadcasts, while he undergoes chemo. (No surgery, apparently.) It will be painful to watch.
My grandfather died from lung cancer. Like Jennings, he was a smoker for some 20 years.
Be well, Peter, and Godspeed.