Monday, August 8, 2005

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Peter Jennings, R.I.P.

The longtime anchor of ABC news died on Sunday, four months after announcing he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

His career tracked a lot of recent history, as the ABC obit observes:

As one of America's most distinguished journalists, Jennings reported many of the pivotal events that have shaped our world. He was in Berlin in the 1960s when the Berlin Wall was going up, and there in the '90s when it came down. He covered the civil rights movement in the southern United States during the 1960s, and the struggle for equality in South Africa during the 1970s and '80s. He was there when the Voting Rights Act was signed in 1965, and on the other side of the world when South Africans voted for the first time. He has worked in every European nation that once was behind the Iron Curtain. He was there when the independent political movement Solidarity was born in a Polish shipyard, and again when Poland's communist leaders were forced from power. And he was in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Romania and throughout the Soviet Union to record first the repression of communism and then its demise. He was one of the first reporters to go to Vietnam in the 1960s, and went back to the killing fields of Cambodia in the 1980s to remind Americans that, unless they did something, the terror would return.

On Dec. 31, 1999, Jennings anchored ABC's Peabody-award winning coverage of Millennium Eve, "ABC 2000." Some 175 million Americans watched the telecast, making it the biggest live global television event ever. "The day belonged to ABC News," wrote The Washington Post, "&with Peter Jennings doing a nearly superhuman job of anchoring." Jennings was the only anchor to appear live for 25 consecutive hours.

Jennings also led ABC's coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks and America's subsequent war on terrorism. He anchored more than 60 hours that week during the network's longest continuous period of news coverage, and was widely praised for providing a reassuring voice during the time of crisis. TV Guide called him "the center of gravity," while the Washington Post wrote, "Jennings, in his shirt sleeves, did a Herculean job of coverage." The coverage earned ABC News Peabody and duPont awards.

I am not and never have been a big network news watcher, but my preference was always ABC, and the Jennings' detached, analytical demeanor was the reason. He will be missed.

posted by Dan on 08.08.05 at 12:21 AM


Yup, he seemed like a lovely man. He must have been more ill than he let on. Very sad.

posted by: Eh... not so much on 08.08.05 at 12:21 AM [permalink]

Jennings will be missed for Dan's stated reasons.

Unfortunately, All goods things must come to an end.

Sucks...Doesn't it....


posted by: James on 08.08.05 at 12:21 AM [permalink]

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