I was out drinking with this Canadian journal student and I mentioned to him that I had once read, Risk and Redemption, by Arthur Kent. By chance, he too had read it. Kent became an internationally prominent journalist during the 1991 Persian Gulf War during which he acquired the nickname The Scud Stud. NBC fired him in 1992 over a news context dispute. The gist of it was that he was a field journalist who refused to do soft (entertainment) news. He was defamed and libelled by NBC who wouldn’t own up to the real reasons for his dismissal: He was good-looking and they wanted him for soft news shows like Dateline. He subsequently sued NBC for breach of contract, fraud and defamation, a case that was settled in March 1994. Importantly, he won the right to publish testimony and evidence from the discovery phase of the suit, that’s how he survived American network news and kept his integrity. He got the word out. It’s a great Canadian story and he’s passing his heritage onto a new generation of the press even as this is written.
We decided after another drink that the disgraced yet exonerated Mike Duffy was one of our favorite Canadian newsman. To look at, he’s no Anderson Cooper, John Roberts, Sanjay Gupta or John King, hell, even Wolf Blitzer might be considered old eye candy. Look at Brooke Anderson, Paula Zahn, Christiane Amanpour, Campbell Brown, Soledad O’Brien and their other pretty female anchors. However, we soon enough remembered that between retired Larry King and Jack Cafferty you could assemble a good Freddy Krueger lookalike. Exceptions to every rule were noted and we had yet another drink, concluding, I think, that our first suspicions were too harsh. The next day I watched CNN while keeping it on mute, listening to the music of Matthew Good, (“One foot in front of the other”), and trying to recover from the previous night. By four o’clock, sleep seized me and when I awoke a few dozen minutes later, I had an epiphany: CNN’s anchors were indeed, all pretty script-readers masked as journalists. However, I decided to think on it.
Were CBC’s anchors the same? Peter Mansbridge, Ian Hanomansing, Nahlah Ayed, Amanda Ferguson and Don Newman were hardly Quasimodo-lookalikes. Hard to judge. Rex Murphy does look a little like a serial killer. And what about a name like George Stroumboulopoulos? The pack are at least an older experienced one. At last I concluded that there was no blow-dry journalism at CBC.
The real question is, “Can Anderson Cooper save the world with his fellow super hero journalists, Christiane Amanpour, Soledad O’Brien and Sanjay Gupta?” With series like, Planet in Peril, God’s Warriors and CNN Heroes, I think they very well may. Especially if everybody stays in, watches CNN and follows their instructions. If you are told to work harder, consume less, (or more), buy a smaller car, (or a bigger one), help your neighbor, (and particularly journalists), be polite to everyone, stay in school, obey the law and stop doing drugs, (protected sex and moderate alcohol consumption, I think are still okay), then what’s to lose? Whoever thought that Big Brother would be CNN and the only coercion ever even hinted at is that if you stopped watching you could fall into the hands of a Foxx News-like conglomeration and turn out to be talk-tortured by some overweight sniveling drugged-out right-wing radio shock-jock who believes religion is a political party, (you know who I mean). Anyway, it’s a hell of a news team, beautiful, insightful, youthful and working around the clock to make the world a better place. Superman? Batman? What about the ACman? The Christianneman? Soledaddy? (Not just your mamma, but your daddy too!) Dr. Sanjayman? These action heroes are daring, gutsy and trim, and they come into your heart and home every single day. All four toy figures for just the price of a nagging Rex Murphy doll.
© 2019 - E. A. St. Amant