Friday, July 11, 2008

The Source

My dad isn't a TV anchor.

He's retired after spending many years in sales and marketing.

But his is a voice I turn to for advice, for entertainment. My dad tells me like it is, whether I want to hear it or not. He breaks down the good, the bad, the ugly and yet comforts me when I experience times of crisis and stress.

What more could a girl ask for, right?

It's funny - I've been out of the tee vee business for three months now, but I am still enraptured by the news.

A lot of it is crap.

The robberies at check exchanges. The process court appearances that appear on tv and in the newspapers. The many, many, many vehicle crashes - there are lots of minutes and column space dedicated to garbage.

And that's when I turn to the remote or the recycling bin.

But the real news, the Evening News - on the networks - that has a way of sucking me in until 7 pm.

I think it was my dad who instilled in me this infatuation with the news.

I remember sitting around the dinner table, my dad home after a long day at work, and my mom buzzing around the kitchen. She'd be putting the final touches on our meat-and-three meal and my dad and I would be watching Tom Brokaw talk about the Keating Five or the Tiananmen Square Massacre. My mom or I would try to interject in Brokaw's flawless delivery - Dad would give us a swift shooshing.

We relied on Brokaw to pull us through the heartbreak of the Challenger tragedy.

We depended on his inspirational words and perspective during the fall of the Berlin Wall.

That's the kind of anchor most people want to watch - someone who sounds like family. An anchor who tells the truth, who reveals some personality.

Someone who's not shlocky, not shallow.

I've worked with dozens of anchors over the years. I can count on one hand the number of anchors who were truly genuine, appearing on television just as they were in real life.

I remember one Ken Doll anchor who was so consumed with the powder on his nose and the staged questions he asked after an reporter's live report (I was the one who actually wrote the questions) that he failed miserably in the sincerity department.

His canned facial expressions and feigned interest were chronic.

The industry has churned out a lot of these Ken Dolls. They come branded with ego and good looks and they kiss enough ass to put theirs in the big chair in warp speed.

In many cases, these men are fathers. But their cross chat, their delivery, their personality smacks of anything but paternal wisdom.

Lexington. Hartford. Philadelphia.

It doesn't matter where you go - you'll find a Ken Doll (or as N B-C would call them, a hair-do). And their demeanor just might disturb your very core. These are the people we're left to trust in a crisis. And yet, if they experienced a crisis in the studio (Lord help us all of the telepropmpter goes down) the only thing that would be reliable is the classic Deer In The Headlights look.

That's why I love Brokaw.

Smooth. Confident. In control no matter the circumstance.

These days I rely on Charlie Gibson for my Daily Dose of Good Anchoring.

He is pleasant, firm, witty and appropriately charming.

Just like Dad.

1 comment:

Denae said...

i am also a huge gibson fan..