Thursday, December 1, 2011

Passed Away Resulting from Cancer: Poh Nikbar November

Peter Jennings

My parents have always watched news during dinner. National news anchors rarely change, and when they do—or when the ratings leader gets overtaken—the blogosphere erupts as if Kim Kardashian’s seventh cousin twice removed was spotted on the street. My parents are loyal, following just four anchors throughout my life: Diane Sawyer; Charles Gibson; Bob Schieffer, an old-timer who we thought rocked; and Peter Jennings.

Jennings hosted ABC’s World News Tonight for 22 years, a feat only trumped by his 34-letter name: Peter Charles Archibald Ewart Jennings. In case "Archibald” doesn’t do it for you, Jennings dominated nightly news, winning 16 Emmy’s and 2 Peabody Awards. He also earned Canada’s highest civilian honor, along with Sue Johanson, host of Sunday Night Sex Show. A true national prize.

Jennings didn’t escape without criticism: Toby Keith and Rush Limbaugh slammed him real good. Additionally, an interesting study demonstrated how Jennings’ expressions were politically-biased, which likely influenced voters. He made up for it by covering 9/11 for 17 consecutive hours, and apparently 23 consecutive for the millennium news special in 1999. I became aware of that study when I Googled “Peter Jennings Syracuse University,” because I had assumed that all top-notch broadcasters graduated from there. He apparently never graduated college and even failed 10th grade. He’s a true American Canadian success story.

In April 2005, Jennings informed viewers that he was diagnosed with lung cancer and would begin chemotherapy. He admitted to smoking until his late 40s, and again during 9/11, an event that had a profound impact on him. His heir, Charles Gibson, then closed each broadcast with the phrase, “for Peter Jennings and all of us at ABC News.” Months later Charles informed viewers that Peter Jennings passed away from lung cancer.

I grew up with Jennings, and think very highly of him. Now I rarely watch news and absorb my daily intake by scrolling Google News headlines ten minutes each morning (and reading The Economist). Efficiency guru Tim Ferriss, who I probably mimic to the point of crossing the legal line, would say even that is too much, since world unawareness acts as a great conversation-starer. I can survive without Syracuse-alumni American broadcasters telling me what's important, but sorry Tim, I can't go without Google telling me what the Kardashians are up to.
Peter Jennings passed away from lung cancer


Anonymous said...

Good blog. We didn't always watch news during dinner. We had many conversations that would upset people who didn't think that being informed was a good thing.