Peter Jennings, RIP

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Our own magazine has name-checked him in direct mail campaigns as an example of what we're against, and the arguments against MSM have been rehearsed ad nauseum, but I'm still sad, for two reasons: High school dropouts* have lost their patron saint; and his admission a few months ago that he'd started smoking again after September 11 was one of the few personal 9/11 tie-ins that sounded like it was actually true, rather than another piece of persona-inflation.

* By the way, can anybody explain this weird, churlish tribute from Ted Koppel: "He was a student for the rest of his life even though he had dropped out (of school) so early, not even, because he had dropped out so early. I think if there was one message he would like to leave with young people today it is, 'Don't do what I did.'"

P.S. There's no better way to honor Jennings than to listen to him getting punkt by Captain Janks (or some fellow traveler).

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  1. A rather high quotient of “big three” network anchormen have died of cancer.

  2. High school dropouts* have lost their patron saint…

    Well, they’ve still got Tom Cruise to look up too. Oh wait…

  3. Say what you will about him, he was the only guy worth watching on & in the days shortly after 9/11. RIP.

  4. “A rather high quotient of “big three” network anchormen have died of cancer.”

    When I was working on my college newspaper, the joke around the office was that all journalists die of either lung cancer or cirrhosis.

  5. Say what you will about him, he was the only guy worth watching on & in the days shortly after 9/11.

    Speak for yourself. I didn’t watch much TV prior to 9/11, and when I dusted off my set and plugged it in that day to find out what the heck was going on, all I could get was ABC and Jennings. A couple of hours of watching his smarm made me order cable that week.

  6. I thought Jennings was the best after 9/11, too.

  7. I kept hoping Jennings would pull a Patton and start slapping Dan Rather with his gloves.

  8. A couple of hours of watching his smarm made me order cable that week.

    You say that as if being smarmy is a bad thing. I dig smarmy. Peter Jennings was cute in that respect.

  9. I poked around for context on the Koppel quote and only came up with this, which adds the “surprisingly sentimental” comment? Why was his sentimentality surprising?

    Anon

  10. When I was working on my college newspaper, the joke around the office was that all journalists die of either lung cancer or cirrhosis.

    If the professors in my Journalism school were to be believed, ashtrays came standard with typewriters and you’d go down to the lobby to drink. I got into the business too late it seems.

    RIP, Jennings.

  11. That is a stumper from Koppel. Maybe he means — “Goddamn, I wish I didn’t look like Frodo’s older brother.”

    So long Pete, for what it’s worth you were always the most watchable of the Big Three.

  12. When I was working on my college newspaper, the joke around the office was that all journalists die of either lung cancer or cirrhosis.

    A lot of the reporters I used to know either smoked like a pig on a spit or were heavy drinkers. Some both.

    Good times, good times.

    As for Jennings, I wouldn’t describe him as smarmy. Condescending asshole, I think is more approriate.

    /speakin’ ill of the dead.

  13. I’m sorry to hear that he died. But I have to confess: I never could tell him and Brokaw apart.

    Shows how little I watch the network news, I guess.

  14. I don’t understand what is weird or churlish about Koppel’s tribute; I think that he meant that Jennings was a person with a lifelong love of acquiring knowledge–that he never stopped learning. That is an example set that anyone would do well to follow.

  15. Wait…maybe it was Brokaw I liked… *I’m confused*.

    Did they both go to the Handsome Boy Modeling School or something?

  16. I thought Ray Croc was the patron saint of high school dropouts?

  17. Oh Jesse, whaddya mean you couldn’t tell Brokaw from Jennings? Brokaw was the one that you always wanted to stick your hands through the meltaway screen (Terminator style?) and throttle (just on GP).

    I think if there was one message he would like to leave with young people today it is, ‘Don’t do what I did.'”

    Ballon-Head (Koppel) is an idiot. Lissen up kids, it is really a BAAAAADDDDD thing to become successful beyond all expectations and to rise to the top of a huge media empire. Don’t do what I did.

  18. High school dropouts* have lost their patron saint

    He proves the rule: you drop out of high school and you’ll probably be doomed to the same fate your father was cursed with. It just so happens, his father was a highly respected journalist.

  19. which one (jennings or koppel) was the SNL “gerald ford eaten by wolves…” one?

    ted was a customer at a video store where i once worked. he’s short. nice enough. i liked when he said “bullshit” on the air AND (different time) aired the madonna video. i didn’t watch either, however. just heard about them.

    so there.

    who is the saint of beauty school dropouts, btw?

    inquiringly,
    drf

  20. who is the saint of beauty school dropouts, btw?

    Luanne from King of the Hill?

  21. Media: awesome. excellent! we need to work in a Futurama, Family Guy, and American Dad reference to finish up. I still like Klaus the Fish.

    Bobby Hill (“that boy ain’t right”) might be runner up to the beauty school dropout, too.

  22. I was going to suggest Dame Edna or Rupaul.

  23. I’ve never been a big fan of the network news, and I’m about 180 degrees removed from joe, ideologically, but I agree that Jennings was impressive on 9/11. I’m not sure about the immediate aftermath — I didn’t watch him much then — but for those first 24 hours, I was pretty much glued to ABC. Jennings was totally professional and human at the same time, and after being awake for 24 hours, he still made sense. I kept thinking, “damn, how is he doing that?”

  24. Peter Jennings never felt the need to divulge his affair with Arafat mouthpiece Hanan Ashwari when he would interview her with softball questions. I guess his most in-depth investigations took place not on air, but between the sheets.

    He was just another newsman not worthy of respect.

  25. Captain Janks has made Hit and Run. Are Daniel Carver, Crackhead Bob and King of All Blacks far behind?

    The big American news ops haven’t been a key info source for me for a while, so Jennings passing isn’t very cataclysmic. Just slightly ahead of Larry King or Mary Hart crossing over.

    No Star- The random slander I heard was the Jennings had been having a fling with some ABC producer. The Hanan Ashwari fling seems like out of left field. Though the two affairs are not mutually exclusive…

  26. “Jennings was totally professional and human at the same time, and after being awake for 24 hours, he still made sense.”

    Yeah, remember Rather? Eek!

  27. Herman, Jennings had long term affair with Ashwari beginning in the 70’s when he was ABC’s man in Beruit, but hers was not the only Palistinian Punany he was dipping into.

    Wherever he was stationed, Jennings extracurricular activities would have made Bill Clinton envious.

    His infidelities finally drove his wife to retaliate with Carl Bernstein which in turn contributed to Bernstein’s divorce from Nora Ephron (which gave her fodder for the novel “Heartburn”.)

    No random slander. Many newspeople found the whole thing quite embarrassing.

  28. I think Ted Koppel’s brain long ago became atrophied, maybe from the direct absorption of chemicals from all the epoxy hairspray he must use to keep that squirrel from jumping off his head.

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