Monday, August 08, 2005

Goodnight, citizen Jennings

Peter Jennings died last night at age 67, presumably of that age-old enemy of tv journalists, lung cancer.

Except for the occasionally slip into Canucky (How aboot it?), we would never have known that one of the smartest Americans on tv was actually Canadian.

Jennings' retirement announcement in April meant that the last of the Jennings-Rather-Brokaw triumvirate was now gone from the air.

Ah, the big 3. The eccentric Rather you either loved or hated, Brokaw was much more accessible, maybe a little too much so, but Jennings' personality was hardly ever the story.


He became a citizen of the United States in 2003, 39 years after he left Canada. "There's no explaining the timing," he told USA Today. "Did 9/11 make a difference?Yes, it did make a difference. Did working on [his book] 'In Search of America' for the last several years, which kept me on the road a lot and dealing with both contemporary and historic national issues -- about which I felt very deeply? That made a difference."


Hell's Kitchen Kate said...

I used to see Peter Jennings on the street up near ABC and Lincoln Center. He always looked oddly tanned and I figured he hadn't taken all the makeup off. One time I saw him in the company of a much younger woman and looking like an uptight celebrity in his self-conciousness. I felt that private superiority we New Yorkers experience when spying a famous person who we wouldn't dream of acknowledging - that's for the clueless tourists who run up and bother whoever so they can go back home and boast.
Now that he's gone and I've read and listened to so many interesting anecdotes about this pretty remarkable man, who is credited with keeping infotainment at a minimum - written into his contract was a clause about how many stories he would personally oversee and develop - who believed in a formal and professional approach to presenting the news, and who even dared to question American policy and took the hits for it, not to further a personal agenda but because that's what he believed his job was: to challenge the given rationale set forth by officialdom and let the American people decide.
Now I'm sorry I wasn't paying attention. Peter I hardly knew ye.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Well said, HKK. Thanks, baby.