I read with great dismay today that Aaron Brown and Newsnight are being morphed into two hours of Anderson Cooper's 360. Reason stated "While smart and passionate about the news, Brown was not a particularly warm television presence." Is that the criteria to be an anchor these days? Boy, a lot of locals should disappear if that's so.
I've been a Brown fan since he was an anchor in Seattle. His interviews are intelligent and thought provoking. He is compassionate and articulate and says more with a raised eyebrow than most of his peers say in a program. And, when he inadvertently interrupts someone he (gasp) apologizes!
The article went on to say Cooper is being rewarded for his energetic coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Ironic, isn't it, that Aaron got his show due to his excellent coverage of 9/11. I like Anderson Cooper; he's one of CNN's up and coming stars. But to this old fogey he's not yet in Brown's league. He stumbles over his words a lot and speaks like a run-a-way race car - like Chris Matthews. But he is bright, funny and has an infectious grin. He seems to be well grounded - something celebrity offspring often are not.
I understand the ratings game and I would guess that has a lot to do with this move. But there is a demographic out here that still yearns for the more mature and more experienced commentators. Aaron Brown is one of the most even handed; not a one man crusade against illegal aliens and outsourcing of jobs like Lou Dobbs. I'd like to see him shed his $1000 suits and 7 figure salary and go pick cauliflower or broccoli for a season and see if he still feels the same. I'd like to see him come down on union demands once in awhile for their part in driving manufacturing off shore.
News coverage in today's climate of 24/7 doesn't begin to fulfill it's potential and the people moving into visibility aren't even close to what the Edward R. Murrows used to be. An Andrea Thompson gets panned because she stumbled a lot, at the beginning of her stint, and because she didn't have a degree in broadcast journalism. I listen to our young locals and assume they have. Had I been an instructor for many of them they would be retaking grammar and pronunciation courses. If they write their own copy they would be retaking that course too.
It's of concern that so many young people get the bulk of their news from the Daily Show. I like Jon Stewart. He too is very bright and an excellent interviewer but I tune out when the profanity and vulgarity reign.
Maybe we don't care enough. We used to care about the news and the accuracy with which it was delivered. Everyone trusted Walter Cronkite. He was for years our national father figure. I can't think of anyone out there right now that comes close to filling his shoes - or for that matter Aaron Brown's. Our loss.