Charles Gibson has announced that he is exiting ABC's World News Tonight in January, after almost 35 years. I love Charles Gibson.
Charlie, I like to call him.
He is that amazing stew of knowledge and experience, along with the "guy
next door" affect. He is my smart buddy.
I trust his news. I love
Diane Sawyer, too, despite the fact that she is friendly and brilliant and
beautiful. I do not consider her
to be my smart girlfriend- yet. She might be too perfect for that acclamation. I know she will do a wonderful
job on the World News Tonight, but Good Morning America will miss her if
she leaves. I cannot imagine working a split shift like that. I would miss her, too- they are my morning TV family. Perhaps I bond too readily.
I saw a film clip from ABC where Charlie recounts all the
places he has been with ABC news, and it is touching. He still seems awestruck and honored at the access he has
been given. He has seen the world and its most powerful people through the
lens of historical events. It has
made him a wise and perfect guide for those of us who are more bound to
ordinary days and lives. It is
hard to replace the veteran journalist these days: they are different from a
news reader or a commentator. They
comfort us with their contained emotions when the news is frightening. They are not prone to rabble and
Not too many people sit around and watch the evening news
anymore. Probably the largest
chunk of evening news consumers are in traffic, especially in the Central time zone. By the time commuters get home, they may wish to avoid the latest
word on the economy, war, politics and current events. Who needs a ration of bad vibes on top
of a day's challenges? Of course,
that is too simple. We all need
news to be able to make decisions in our lives, about money, health,
votes. The internet has made it
easier for us to time-shift the way we are fed information, and most of us have
availed ourselves of it. I am the biggest internet timewaster in America, though, and I did not realize that the entire evening newscast is available on line. (I just surfed around their web site, and was treated to a hilarious Bill Kurtis ad. More about that another day...)
I would rather get news from an organization with resources, structure and a reputation to uphold. My newsgatherer should be invested in truth and have a stake in accuracy. They should have something to lose if they betray my trust by taking liberties with editing or facts. I reward the print media's work ethic by buying and reading the paper. On TV, I always ditch the sputtering cable operators- they are there for divisive and entertaining purposes- not for objective reporting. I can make up my mind by myself if I have the facts.
admonition rings true for readers and journalists: consider the
source. Wikipedia is a user based aggregation of facts, often fraught with errors. Jon Stewart is not a newsman, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck are not married to facts. We need to work
a little to find a trusted news source, and when we lose it-(think Peter
Jennings, Tom Brokow, Dan Rather, Ted Koppel) it is an adjustment. We need to leap into a trusting
relationship with someone else.
Charlie Gibson earned our trust, and he also earned some time to spend
with his non-TV family. I wish him
joy in whatever retirement role he takes on at ABC. Now I need to bond with someone
else. My loyalty is in play. Maybe if Diane was a brunette.....