2008年3月9日 星期日

David Brinkley

Brinkley, David McClure, (1920–2003, American news broadcaster) 回憶錄memoirs (1995)書名甚妙:
David Brinkley: 11 Presidents, 4 Wars, 22 Political Conventions, 1 Moon Landing, 3 Assassinations, 2,000 Weeks of News and Other Stuff on Television and 18 Years of Growing Up in North Carolina (ISBN 0-345-37402-9).
其中一愛兒心切(頁87)軼事/恨事, 很有意思。
……想寫信罵他……恐嚇說我要完成杜魯門的未竟之志。但我死終沒有寫這封信,且至今引以為撼。」-- 19964月的讀者文摘


David Brinkley, 82, Newsman Model, Dies




Published: June 13, 2003
David Brinkley, the wry reporter and commentator whose NBC broadcasts with Chet Huntley from 1956 to 1970 helped to define and popularize television news in America, died on Wednesday night at his home in Houston. He was 82.
In 1950, when Mr. Brinkley first went on the air, major news programs were no longer than 15 minutes. Later, the early-evening Huntley-Brinkley report became a television staple at a half-hour. Some of Mr. Brinkley's finest moments involved the coverage of politics by ''The Huntley-Brinkley Report,'' particularly its live reporting from the party conventions, starting in 1956.
By 1964, the programs's coverage of the Democratic convention drew a remarkable 84 percent share of the viewers. Former President Bill Clinton has said the Huntley-Brinkley coverage of the conventions fueled his early interest in politics. Jeff Greenfield, the CNN news analyst, said, ''David Brinkley created a whole generation of political junkies.''
Mr. Brinkley, whose pungent commentaries, delivered with a mixture of barely concealed skepticism and succinct candor, achieved a number of firsts, including writing and serving as the host for one of the earliest television news magazines, ''David Brinkley's Journal,'' in the early 1960's.
Mr. Brinkley liked to say that he had ''done the news longer than anyone on earth.'' He summed up his career as the subtitle of his 1995 memoir, ''David Brinkley'': ''11 Presidents, 4 Wars, 22 Political Conventions, 1 Moon Landing, 3 Assassinations, 2,000 Weeks of News and Other Stuff on Television and 18 Years of Growing Up in North Carolina.''
His style of writing and delivering the news -- clipped sentences spoken in measured cadences and in a sardonic voice -- was echoed by legions of young television commentators, imitated by comedians and mimics, and instantly recognized.
His colleague Roger Mudd once observed that Mr. Brinkley ''brought a level of political sophistication and literary craftsmanship and a lively sense of humor that television had never known before and that hasn't been equaled since.''
Mr. Brinkley was among the last of a generation of reporters who got their basic training at newspapers and news agencies, then made their names in the new medium of television. That generation included John Chancellor, who died in 1996, and Walter Cronkite.
''In my own work I have, for better or worse, always dealt or tried to deal with everything that falls under the heading of news,'' Mr. Brinkley wrote in his 1996 book, ''Everyone Is Entitled to My Opinion.'' ''Just news. No specialty, no emphasis on this or that or anything else. Just whatever came in.''
He described his commentaries as ''the sauce, the spice, the flavoring to be mixed in with the wars, the medical discoveries and the economic upheavals that fill the front pages.''
As part of the Huntley-Brinkley team, Mr. Brinkley held forth from Washington, while Huntley, a saturninely handsome correspondent who was given to punditry, reported from New York. The chemistry between the two, thanks largely to the controlled astringency of Mr. Brinkley's commentary, gave the broadcast a dominant place in the ratings, overtaking Mr. Cronkite's evening news program on CBS in two years.
Reuven Frank, the program's producer, was credited with conceiving its famous closing lines, ''Good night, Chet,'' ''Good night, David,'' ''And good night for NBC News'' as a gesture of warmth to offset the serious demeanors of Mr. Huntley and Mr. Brinkley and the seriousness with which they treated the nightly news. In later years Mr. Brinkley said he thought the sign-off was ''silly and inappropriate.''
''The Huntley-Brinkley Report'' ended with Mr. Huntley's retirement in 1970, but Mr. Brinkley remained at NBC for 11 years after Mr. Huntley's departure. Mr. Brinkley was an anchor of ''Nightly News'' with John Chancellor from 1976 to 1979 and for a while presided over ''NBC Magazine.'' In the 1960's, he had also been the host of ''David Brinkley's Journal.'' Both ''Magazine'' and ''Journal'' were critically acclaimed, although neither attracted as large a share of the television audience as critics thought they deserved.
In September 1981, Mr. Brinkley, then 61, said he was leaving NBC after 38 years ''because there's nothing at NBC that I really want to do.'' The network had just picked Roger Mudd and Tom Brokaw as the anchors for ''Nightly News'' and Mr. Brinkley felt he had no role. He later called his departure ''a rending, wrenching experience'' that brought tears to his eyes.
He soon joined ABC News, where Roone Arledge was planning a Sunday morning program. ABC's ''This Week With David Brinkley'' at first featured Benjamin C. Bradlee, then editor of The Washington Post, and Karen Elliot House, a diplomatic reporter for The Wall Street Journal. Later it included George Will, Cokie Roberts and Sam Donaldson.
With Mr. Brinkley in charge, the program's blend of political news, commentary and sometimes quarrelsome debate established it as both a ratings leader and a trend setter on Sunday mornings. It also inspired a wave of similar programs.
Mr. Brinkley retired from his weekly stint as moderator of ''This Week With David Brinkley'' in November 1997, saying he would contribute commentary and perform other duties for the network. In the months leading up to his retirement, he observed that he had covered 22 national political conventions, which he had come to regard as ''cruel and unusual punishment.''
Along the way, though, he won 10 Emmys, 3 George Foster Peabody awards and, in 1992, the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George H. W. Bush.
In 1998, he surprised many of his admirers in the news business when he agreed to become a spokesman for Archer-Daniels-Midland, the agribusiness giant. He had retired from ABC only months before. Archer had gotten itself into serious difficulty with the government in 1996, paying a $100 million fine for the price-fixing of food and feed additives.
So there was considerable dismay when Mr. Brinkley appeared for A-D-M on his old show with these self-introductory words: ''Since television began, I have brought you the news -- wars, elections, victories, defeats. The news, straight and true. I will still speak straight and true. I'll never change that, but now I will bring you information about food, the environment, agriculture, issues of importance to the American people and the world.''
Some of his colleagues in television news expressed reservations and puzzlement, since representing a corporation appeared to be in conflict with Mr. Brinkley's image of independence as a news man.
When the commercial turned up only on the program Mr. Brinkley had just retired from, ABC pulled the commercial, but reinstated it a few months later.
In his final election night program, in 1996, Mr. Brinkley delivered some parting shots, calling President Clinton a bore and telling voters they could expect more ''goddamned nonsense'' for the next four years.
After covering presidential elections since the 1956 Eisenhower-Stevenson race, the 1996 election was Mr. Brinkley's last as a broadcaster. Winding up a long night, when ABC correspondents gathered around Peter Jennings, the anchor, Mr. Brinkley said of the newly re-elected Mr. Clinton: ''He has not a creative bone in his body. Therefore, he's a bore, and will always be a bore.''
Callers flooded the network's phone lines to complain about or praise Mr. Brinkley's remarks. But he apologized to President Clinton a few days later.
David McClure Brinkley was born July 10, 1920, in Wilmington, N.C., the son of William Graham Brinkley, a railroad man, and Mary MacDonald West Brinkley. While he was still a student at New Hanover High School in Wilmington, he worked for a weekly newspaper, owned by a relative, providing a column about high school activities. It ''was full of such racy items as who was buying 10-cent sodas for whom,'' Mr. Brinkley later said, ''each one separated by three dots.''
After high school, he attended the University of North Carolina and Vanderbilt University, but earned degrees from neither, because ''I didn't think there was anything they could teach me,'' Mr. Brinkley said. He joined the Army in 1940 but was discharged for medical reasons a year later.
In 1942, he got a reporting job with United Press in Atlanta and later worked for the news agency in Montgomery, Ala., Nashville and Charlotte, N.C. He then moved to Washington, where NBC, impressed by his ability to write for the ear, hired him as a news writer.
In his 1995 memoir Mr. Brinkley told how he came to deliver the news in his distinctive melodic fashion. In World War II, he said, he took to underlining words to insure the correct emphasis on the radio and developed his ''jerky, labored way of speaking.''
In 1945, NBC made him the moderator of a television news show called ''America United,'' which was shown in the Washington area. Mr. Brinkley liked to say that he made all his learning errors at a good time, because at that point, there were only a few hundred people with television sets in Washington.
NBC decided that Mr. Brinkley had on-camera talent and in 1950 made him a news commentator. The next year, be became Washington correspondent for NBC's nightly 15-minute news program, ''Camel News Caravan,'' named after the cigarette company that sponsored it.
Mr. Brinkley was married twice. His first marriage, to Ann Fischer, ended in divorce. They had three sons, who survive him: Joel, of Chevy Chase, Md., a Washington correspondent for The New York Times; Alan, of New York, the incoming provost of Columbia University who is also the Allan Nevins professor of history there; and John, of Silver Spring, Md., a director of the United States Institute for Peace in Washington. In 1972 David Brinkley married Susan Adolph, who also survives him, as does her daughter from a previous marriage, Alexis Brinkley Collins, whom Mr. Brinkley adopted.
Over the years, Mr. Brinkley's commentaries remained consistently tart. He often railed at what he saw as the incompetence of big government. He came to think that Congress had dangerously isolated itself from the rest of the country.
John J. O'Connor, reviewing this phase of his career for The Times, called Mr. Brinkley ''one of the more articulate and persuasive practitioners'' of television news reporting.
''The only way to do news on television is not to be terrified of it,'' Mr. Brinkley said. ''Most of the news isn't very important. In fact, very little of it is.''
Correction: June 14, 2003, Saturday An obituary of the television news anchor David Brinkley yesterday misspelled the name of a colleague on early ABC broadcasts of ''This Week.'' She is Karen Elliott House, not Elliot. Correction: June 20, 2003, Friday An obituary of the television news anchor David Brinkley last Friday misidentified the CBS newsman whose broadcast was overtaken in the ratings by NBC's ''Huntley-Brinkley Report'' in the late 1950's. He was Douglas Edwards, not Walter Cronkite.
張貼留言

網誌存檔