NY Times’s Bill Carter wrote a nice profile of Tom Brokaw, who is about to step down as anchor of NBC’s Nightly News. I’ve always been more partial to Peter Jennings, but admired Tom Brokaw’s decentness. Very interesting stuff:
[Robert Wright, the chairman and chief executive of NBC] puts it in contemporary terms. “[Brokaw]’s a red state guy and we live in a red state world.”
The crimson state in question is South Dakota, where Mr. Brokaw was born, and which he says still lives in him despite his decades as a resident of Manhattan. [CBS’s Dan] Rather has Texas in his blood, of course, but his connections to his Southwest roots can seem forced, as in his country-fried election night witticisms. [ABC’s] Jennings has no red or blue state background to call upon at all, since he’s a native Canadian.
“I still have a South Dakota-Montana sensibility about certain things,” Mr. Brokaw said. “I have an awareness of what people are thinking and talking about. I don’t treat Middle America as flyover country.”
[Ex-NBC president Andrew] Lack said, “They see him as the guy with the least pretensions. He’s the guy you would want to go have a beer with.”
This is, as even Mr. Brokaw concedes, something of a skewed impression. “People still think of me as from South Dakota,” he said. “But I’m a bright lights, big city guy.” That translates to living in an apartment on Park Avenue and interests ranging from the Yankees to the city’s art
galleries. Yes, Mr. Brokaw, who makes about $10 million a year, vacations on a ranch in Montana, but he often travels there on a private jet owned by Herbert Allen, the investment banker and one of Mr. Brokaw’s closest friends.
In Mr. Lack’s analysis, “Tom loves being hip, which is counter to the ordinary guy. I have been in more trendy restaurants with him that I ever would have imagined. Tom loved Hollywood when he was in L.A. He loves show business. He’s very comfortable in all those areas, even if what he
truly is is a regular guy from South Dakota who married a Miss South Dakota.”
As for Mr. Brokaw himself, he will very likely offer some kind of valedictory, as he did on election night. But that came at 5:30 a.m. and few saw it. Those who did saw no deep display of emotion, just one more example of Mr. Brokaw’s reserved, man-of-the American Plains grace.
“For me, having done this for 42 years, I find it nothing less than awe-inspiring to sit here and share this information with you,” Mr. Brokaw said. “And I am grateful to you not just for the opportunity to do it, but the graciousness with which you have accepted me into your
Well, he’s a gracious guy – a sophisticate who’s still, bottomline, Mr. Middle America. Salute to Brokaw. On the bright side, with Brian Williams at the anchor desk, maybe Williams won’t be so eager to be thrown at (or tethered from) hurricanes in the near future.
Slate.com’s Dahlia Lithwick notes that being Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is an “overrated job.” Hmm. (there was laughter when colleagues and I speculated as to a possible Ch. J. selection – not the nice and kind kind of laughter either, I might add).
Oh, and since I’m mentioning the law, here’s a link to the ABA E-Journal – humorist-at-law Sean Carter experiments that tried and true Socratic Method on his children:
Me: Austin, what did I tell you about hitting your brother over the head with the telephone?
Austin: You said not to do it?
Me: Very good. Do you remember why I said not to do it?
Austin: Because money doesn’t grow on trees, and you didn’t want to go out and buy another phone?
Me: Well, that’s certainly true. But is that the reason I gave you?
Austin: I don’t remember.
Me: That’s very disappointing, Austin. Perhaps, one of your brothers can do better. Matthew, can you tell me the reason that I told Austin not to hit you over the head with the telephone?
Matthew: Not really. I’m kind of dizzy right now.
Me: Well, I’m sorry that you’re dizzy, but a judge won’t care that you’re having a bad day. Go grab some ice from the freezer, and we’ll get back to you in a minute. Brendan, did you witness this incident?
Me: Excellent. Well, perhaps you can tell me what prompted the alleged assault?
Me: If you were testifying in a court of law, you’d have to give clearer answers, mister. And no, the judge wouldn’t care that you’re only 9 months old. Now that you’ve decided to rejoin us, Matthew, perhaps you can answer the question?
Matthew: Which question was that? [….]
Ok, enough with the laughs. Later.