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I was never much of an evening news watcher, but when I did turn to one of the major networks for news coverage, it was always to Peter Jennings. There were some great tributes to the late anchor last night on ABC and also CNN, and Jennings’ interest in world news and international reporting was justly lauded. But let me say something here about the unique tone and presence Jennings brought to the news, a reporting style I can’t see duplicated in today’s media. Jenning always brought a cool and respectful point of view to his coverage. He resisted the sentimental as well as the often shameless impulse to intrude on the viewer’s emotional space, to phonily bond over moments of crisis. He was a touch dispassionate, a bit sophisticated, and perhaps his Canadian birth allowed him a slight critical distance from the American news he covered. All of those “cool” qualities, in Jennings’s hands, strangely created a kind of empathy and trust with the viewer. He will be missed.

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