Brokaw to Call It Quits Election Night

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One of the country’s most revered and beloved news men will hang up his teleprompter next Tuesday on election night and I for one will be sorry to see him go.

Tom Brokaw announced late last year that he would only do one more year as the anchor for NBC’s Nightly News. Brokaw has made his last day November 2 – election night.

Appropriate for a guy who has covered many an election and many other breaking news stories over the years.

I can’t claim that I watch a lot of network news, but I have always admired Brokaw. I will always think of him as a man with a watchful eye and a sensitive touch when it came to the news in much the same way we remember Walter Cronkite having to take off his glasses and wipe away the tears when he announced on live television the death of John F. Kennedy.

Real journalists understand that the news is about more than just the facts even if that is all they are supposed to report. They have to understand the story beneath the story and help the viewers get a sense of what is really going on.

I’ll never forget when Brokaw told his long-time friend and then network mate David Letterman that he would take him anywhere in the world he would like to go to do his final interview with Letterman before he left to go to CBS. Letterman chose to go fishing in Central Park – completely perfect for the quirky late night host.

Brokaw laughingly obliged and interviewed Letterman on the banks of the pond in the middle of Central Park. Letterman joked that he liked to come out to the pond regularly to “watch the headless torsos bob to the surface.”

That typified the calm, cool and collected style of Brokaw who, with that signature speech impediment, would probably never make it on today’s television news any more than Cronkite would. In a day and age where Fox’s “Fair and Balanced” news is neither, CNN’s news “you can depend on” can’t actually be depended on and even Houston’s own Dan Rather can’t be trusted to report the facts, I’ll be sorry to see a class act like Brokaw leave the airwaves.

I’m sure he’ll enjoy his retirement. Unfortunately, he leaves the rest of us with an ever-deteriorating broadcast news media.

Best wishes, Mr. Brokaw. Thanks for the great career.

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