It's hard to believe that I was only two when Peter Jennings became the anchor of ABC's Nightly News. It was 1965, before the 60s began. Timothy Leary was still at Harvard, and Viet Nam was still an opportunity to thwart communism's uholy advance. Jennings didn't last long. Berated by critics as a pretty face, ABC demoted him to foreign correspondent in 1968. In London, Munich, Brussels, and other foreign capitals, Jennings paid his dues. He returned to a co-anchorship in 1978 and became the sole anchor in 1983.
The early 80s were the hayday of ABC News. With Reagan's election restoring hope for the West, David Brinkley launched "This Week with David Brinkley," making ABC the network of record during throughout the Reagan administration. Jennings, though a liberal, seemed to keep his politics under his hat, unlike NBC's John Chancellor and CBS's insane Dan Rather. Jennings was the perfect evening complement to Brinkley's Sunday morning talkfest.
Peter Jennings died this evening at his home in New York from lung cancer. He was 67. All three anchors of my formative years are gone from the scene: Dan Rather resigned in disgrace for lying in order to influence the results of an election, Tom Brokaw happily retired while still young and healthy enough to enjoy his wealth, and Jennings succumbed to cancer. With Reagan and John Paul II dead, with Margaret Thatcher on the fringes of politics, the 80s seem like 40s in the 60s: mere nostalgia.
Michelle Malkin summarizes the news outlet reactions. Michael King and LaShawn Barber have reactions, too, and The Political Teen has video. Rhymes with Right, Captain's Quarters , ConservaGlobe, The View from My Chair, and MUSC Tiger pay tribute.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord. Let perpetual light shine upon. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through Your endless mercy, rest in peace.