In the beginning of their careers they collectively experienced the assassination of President Kennedy, the Watergate scandal, and the resignation of Richard Nixon. In the height of their careers they saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, consequently the fall of the USSR, and the tragedy of 9/11. Their voices resonated in our minds as we as country learned of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Their stability impressed upon us the true meaning of "anchor" in a time when little else was stable.
Last night on the Primetime Emmy Awards, the Academy of Television honored the work of Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, and the late Peter Jennings. Brokaw and Rather appeared on stage, an uncommon appearance and one less anticipated since their departures from NBC and CBS. They commented on the historic and acceptable work of their predecessors during the Katrina disaster. They remembered their late colleague for his work and noted how much his presence is missed in their lives and in living rooms across the country. And they said something that will stay in my memory for years to come; to Jennings' children they said that he will always have a place in "this brotherhood."
All my life one of those three men was on the nightly news. All my life my vision of journalism, my idea of what an anchor should be, was one of those three men. Though at odds at times and always in competition, I often wondered if they held each other in the same regard in which I held them. Last night's comments assured me that they do.
I can't say I have a favorite. Brokaw decided to go into journalism the night of the 1960 Nixon/Kennedy election. That would generally promote favoritism out of me, but Jennings was the voice. The calm, collected, and constant voice of 9/11 for me. Brokaw was the presence, Jennings was the true talent, and Rather was the passion. The three together were the Brotherhood.