Today in the Free Press, the obligatory local angle: Peter Jennings visited Detroit often, was regular guy. See page whatever.
It was an amusing read, if for no other reason than the quotes are funny-dumb, and the facts presented contradict the story’s central premise. His last trip to the D was a few months after the 9/11 attacks, and what the local TV type recalls him reporting was “the further you got from New York, the more different the impact was.” No! Get OUT!
“In a Free Press interview in 1996, he waxed rhapsodic about visiting the Eastern Market during a weeklong stay in 1975. ‘I was very moved by the whole experience,’ he said then. ‘I have a fond recollection of that time.'”
The Eastern Market, I remind you, is a produce market. Useful, yes. Interesting, certainly. But moving? Huh. Never had that feeling there.
Finally, “Jennings made a point of calling people at Channel 7 by name and treated interns and tech people with the same noblesse oblige he bestowed on station brass, Drutz said. That is, as long as he had a Fresca in his hand. Seems Jennings enjoyed the diet drink that has been eclipsed in many markets by other brands. Drutz, in charge of keeping Jennings happy, panicked until she came across a small cache of the drink at a Kroger’s not far from WXYZ’s Southfield location.”
Misuse of fancy Frenchy phrase, check. And the just-plain-folks regular guy requires an obscure soft drink that sends staffers scrambling to find it? I’m amazed he didn’t want the brown M&Ms picked out.
So far no one has mentioned my favorite Peter Jennings memory: The time he was doing a live phone interview from Beirut, and the operator came on to tell him the time was up. Without missing a beat, he negotiated an extension of time — in French! — then returned to the interview, cool as the noblesse oblige-y Francophone Canadian he was.
Or “cool as Fresca,” as we say here.
A friend of mine worked on Captiva Island when Michael Mann shot parts of “Manhunter” there. Mann required Tab, which sent junior-level staffers into a DefCon IV state of emergency, rounding it up. You ask me, the mark of true regular guydom is a man who can say, “Sure, whatever,” after being told his drink of choice is not available and will a Diet Pepsi do.
I don’t trust John Roberts, but I enjoyed this column by Richard Cohen, about some of his friends.