Monday, June 23, 2008

Tom Steps Up

As y'all Probably Already Know, Tom Brokaw has volunteered to take over the "Meet the Press" anchor chair left empty by last week's death of News Guru Tim Russert. What many of you born after We Baby Boomers Made Our Mark is that the Venerable Newsman was once a fixture on the "Today" show (check out "Today's" 55th-Anniversary clip--it's pretty funny!). No, he wasn't at the News Desk, a la Ann Curry (her 10th-Anniversary clip is amusing as well); he was a host during the late '70s & early '80s, with Jane Pauley (absolutely love this gal's '80s hair!) by his side.

We hate to admit it, but it was Tommy's Cuteness & Cuddliness that first drew us to his fan club. Take a look at his Cherubic Good Looks, & you can tell why. When we were Young & Foolish, & worked the night shift at The Dallas Morning News, we woke up with Tom & Jane every weekday morning.

Fortunately, both for us, but especially for Tom, Beauty--in his case, at least--is More Than Skin Deep. Tom saw us thru the final years of Vietnam, helped expose Watergate, baked soufflés with Martha Stewart (OK, we couldn't find any clips with Tom & Martha together on "Today"; this tidbit will have to suffice!) and reported on Monica Lewinsky's tête-à-tête with Bill Clinton.

Tom left "Today" in 1981 for "NBC Nightly News," which he presided over with the appropriate blend of decorum & flair until December 2004 when Tom--alas!--Abdicated The Throne. Yes, Yes, Brian Williams, Tom's heir apparent, has that deep, sonorous voice associated with an Anchorman, but something about him Isn't Quite Right. Oh, we know--He Isn't Tom Brokaw!

Some say The Evening News is dead. Some say it went The Way of the Dinosaur after Uncle Walter--America's Conscience as the anchor of the CBS News for 19 years (yes, some of us tend to forget, Dear Reader: Walter Cronkite anchored for fewer years than Dan Rather--he was kinda cute in the old daze, huh?--who clocked in at 24 years in the CBS anchor chair, but then left in disgrace); others say it's still hanging on by its proverbial fingernails, with Brian, Charlie & Katie merely keeping the Network Chairs warm (see Howard Kurtz's wonderfully insightful Reality Show for more on that). But we can't help but think that Tom's return to the airways as host of "Meet the Press" is a Good Thing for American Journalism of the Television Variety.

Can't wait 'til September, when the campaign really gets going, & we can discuss these Weighty Matters with our student journalistas! Until then, we'll be content to tune in to Tom & "Meet the Press" each Summer Sunday.

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