BOB SIMON - Last night's horrendous accident which ended his life was another reminder of how fragile and unpredictable life is. Bob Simon was truly worthy of all the plaudits and kudos uttered about him since last night's tragedy. Why that limo was traveling at twice the speed limit has raised conspiracy theorist's eyebrows. Hopefully no conspiracy to end his life was the reason for what happened.
I never met Bob Simon, but I did have the good fortune to know his former boss and 60 MINUTES creator, Don Hewitt, as well as Don's ex-wife, Frankie, who ran Ford's Theater in D.C. during the years I was on television in that city (1974 through1977). Don always acccepted my phone calls when I had a story idea. He was a giant, but not above taking phone calls and listening to ideas. I also knew, as did some of you, one of Bob's fellow 60 MINUTES correspondents, i.e., the late and great Harry Reasoner, who cut his broadcasting eye-teeth here in the Twin Cities.
In my opinion, and the opinion of so many, Bob's untimely death will certainly leave a gaping hole in the CBS firmament. Broadcasters from all the networks echoed their genuine sadness at the loss of one of the best in the business.
BRIAN WILLIAMS - I never met Brian either, but whatever possessed him to utter what he uttered, from the Iraqi story to the apparent fiction about what he saw during his Hurricane Katrina coverage, perhaps no one except Brian will ever know. He was perpetually at the top of the television news ratings "mountain" and certainly didn't need to embellish any story to get more ratings, which create more and higher revenues, and of course, about what the commercial media business is, allowing that element of the business to exist and flourish. As the adage states, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Brian didn't need to fix anything. Nothing was broken, but sadly, he chose to "fix it" and may have broken his career as a respected anchor. Without melodrama, but I think true, he also broke a lot of viewership trust, which could obviously adversely impact the television news business for a very long time. Just as so many of us were shaking our heads when Pete Carroll made the call for the Seattle Seahawks to throw a pass instead of running the ball to easily win another Super Bowl, I think a lot of us are shaking our heads regarding Mr. Williams's decisions. As Jon Stewart said a few nights ago, "Why, Bri? Why?". Another head-shaker.
JON STEWART AND LIZZ WINSTEAD - Leaving for different pastures later this year, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert both owe their big breaks to Minneapolis comedienne, writer and THE DAILY SHOW creator, Lizz Winstead. Lizz is a longtime friend to me. We share the same birthday, August 5th, although I'm eons older than Lizz (and everyone). Thanks to Lizz, THE DAILY SHOW did a four-minute satirical reflection about my career (which she wrote) when Craig Kilborn was hosting the show. (Craig wasn't born in Minnesota, but called Hastings his home prior to getting his big break into the television business, also thanks to Lizz) With all the attention Stewart's departure is getting, I thought it might be good to remember the person who created the vehicle that made his name a household one, justifiably. Kudos to Lizz. (BTW, her brother is Bloomngton, Minnesota's Mayor. Quite a family.) Brava, Lizz.
Thanks, as always, for taking the time to read my geezer thoughts.