Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Peter Jennings, RIP

Of course I don’t care much for network news, and ABC gives CBS a run for the title of having the worst bias, but Peter Jennings was a gentleman. Through a long chain of events that take too long to recount, I got to meet Jennings and spend an hour talking with him in his office at ABC in New York back in the fall of 1993. He couldn’t have been nicer or more cordial, even though I was there to argue with him and his chief producer about their coverage of health care issues and other things. (This was during the run-up to Hillarycare.) He fiddled with his Dunhill cagarette pack through much of the conversation, I remember.

One thing that became apparent from our conversation was the insularity of network news. Jennings asked what was the leading conservative idea for health care. I told him, "medical savings accounts." "Never heard of it," he said, which struck me as rather amazing since he had had John Goodman of the NCPA, one of the inventors and popularizers of the idea, on a townhall show that he (Jennings) had hosted, and had obviously not absorbed a thing Goodman had said. But recall that TV news people have an earpiece in their ear, and listen more to producers than to the guests, as their fundamental obligation is to keep the show moving along. This all goes to remind us that even TV news is show biz.

Jennings also said he respected the critiques of the Media Research Center, the conservative media watchdog. Yet when the Republicans captured Congress a year later, he seemed to move more overtly to the left, comparing the election result to a child’s temper tantrum.

Discussions - 5 Comments

An arrogant MSM liberal dinosaur who knew how to act nice in private. I’m sure there are many others.

Could be, but I doubt I’d have enjoyed meeting Dan Rather.

I’ve read that Rather was actually nicer than most of the big-name TV news people. Who knows. My point is that if one looks at the TV news business generally, as with any industry, there are probably some privately nice people. What matters more is Jennings’ public record, which by all accounts was atrocious.

Rather came across, to me, as a true-believing liberal motivated primarily by compassion. If nothing else, he had a Red State background and gave the impression of having a clue about such things. Jennings came across as a cold, arrogant, insular Blue Stater.

I set my jaw against him during election coverage in the 1980s. David Brinkley had mentioned that some Democrat had unexpectedly won, and Jennings said, "Good." Brinkley embarrassingly smiled and said "Well, Peter, I’m not sure it’s ’good’, exactly." Brinkley was a true professional.

For all that, I hate to see a man go before his time, and cancer is a real bum deal. GRHS.

This reminds me of "Do nice guys always get into heaven?" The answer is no of course. Peter Jennings was a typical left winger who used/abused his position. Steve seems to think it is significant that he was "nice" to him one time. Surely Steve is more thoughtful than that...

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