George Will on Brinkley
Posted by Peter W. Schramm
George Will has a lovely column on David Brinkley as a man, and what standards he set for the profession.
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NPR recently re-aired an old interview with Brinkley (circa 1989?). In that interview, Brinkley confessed to Terry Gross that he and Chet Huntley absolutely detested their "Goodnight David. Goodnight Chet." closing at the end of each show. (They thought that it seemed a bit feminine, and that if they were going to say goodnight, that it should be to the viewer, not to each other.) In spite of their protests, the producer insisted that they stick with it. And of course, audiences ate it up. The story lends little to Wills column, or ones analysis of the man as a whole, but its amusing nonetheless.
I was listening to National Public Radios Weekend Edition Saturday (6/14) and Scott Simon was speaking with Daniel Schorr about Brinkley. Schorr brought up as his "Brinkley moment" when Brinkley on-air called Clinton a bore after the 1996 Presidential Election. Schorr then said that this quickened his departure from NBC to ABC. I heard that and thought that Brinkley went to ABC in 1981. I went to NPRs web site and listened to it and they cut it out of the RealAudio file. I also looked it up on LEXIS-NEXIS and Westnews and the transcript omits the comments. I smell a conspiracy!!
I dont know what happened to the file (I havent looked) nor do I remember when Brinkley left NBC. But I do remember watching the show right after the election (maybe it was election eve) and remember almost falling out of my chair when Brinkley said that about Clinton. He also said something like "the man doesnt have a creative bone in his body" which I really didnt understand, maybe I just dont remember the context.
Actually, I mention conspiracy in jest. However, I suspect that Schorr was just plain wrong and the NPR just did a bit of "airbrushing". It really isnt a big deal.
Yeah, I didnt understand what Brinkley meant about Clinton. If anything, Clinton wasnt a bore. He was definitely boorish.
One Brinkley story I enjoyed was several years ago and I cannot recall the source. Anyway it occured in the late fifties during the end of the newscast A senate committee was spending a long time debating over whether to rename Boulder Dam after Pres. Herbert Hoover. I can only paraphrase; but Brinkley noted that the renaming impasse could be easly solved if"President Hoover would announce to the nation that he was changing his name to Herbert Boulder." I can imagine seeing that deadpan delivery. We have lost a national treasure. Rest in Peace Mr. Brinkley. God bless you.
Yeah, Brinkley was my favorite and Im in my 30s. I picked up Washington Goes to War at a church rummage sale about six weeks ago and I read the thing when I was bedridden with a cold a few days later. It is a great little book. RIP.