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Anchoring America Hardcover – November 3, 2003

2.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Offering portraits of 19 anchors from the past 60-odd years of network news, Alan attempts to understand "who they were, why we watched them, how the news affected them, how they affected the news, and how they affected us as we took in the events of the day they related." That's a tall order, and while his book falls short on some of those counts, it nonetheless delivers eyebrow-raising portrayals of some famous American newscasters. Not exactly journalism-school material, the book adopts a gossipy attitude, purporting to uncover Walter Cronkite as a ruthless competitor and pointing out that Edward R. Murrow never actually sat behind an anchor desk. Alan (Responsible Journalism) divides his book into chapters on "The Pioneers" (Murrow, Douglas Edwards, etc.), "The Golden Years" (Cronkite, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, etc.), "The Changing of the Guard" (Barbara Walters, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Connie Chung, etc.) and "The Challenge of Cable News," which covers CNN. Though not entirely rigorous, this book may please readers looking for the rumors behind the news.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Can we live without anchormen and -women in future? This book will make you ponder that question. -- The Hill
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 426 pages
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing (November 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156625194X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566251945
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,184,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Annie Van Auken TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In searching for books specifically about NBC-TV newsman Frank McGee (apparently there are none), I came across Jeff Alan's ANCHORING AMERICA.

A sample of Alan's recounting of the JFK assassination coverage reveals multiple errors and rumor-mongering. On a single page (104) in his Huntley-Brinkley chapter, Alan repeats the old fable that Lee Oswald escorted newsman Robert MacNeil to a telephone, also claims that Chet and David covered the breaking story for NBC. In reality it was anchors Bill Ryan, Huntley, and then McGee, who joined the two in a blonde wood-panelled New York studio about 10 minutes after the Dallas shooting story broke around 12:40 pm Eastern time.

Quote: "Huntley and Brinkley were quickly on the air..."
A 4½ hour A&E special from November 22,1988 reveals on NBC's unedited reference tape from that nightmarish afternoon that Brinkley is first heard from for 90 seconds at the half-hour mark of the network's harried, technical glitch-laden coverage, and that his partner in the nightly news show had little to do sandwiched between Ryan and McGee. Huntley left the studio after the first hour, not to return until 6:30 pm. Brinkley's subsequent appearances that afternoon were few and brief.

Finally there's this:
"Two nights later, NBC was the only network that aired the transfer of Lee Harvey Oswald from city jail to Dallas County jail...Jack Ruby stepped out of the crowd, shot Oswald, and story was carried live on NBC."

This was the clincher for me. As a young child I witnessed, and was traumatized by, the live TV murder of Lee Oswald. It occurred on Sunday the 24th, not at night, but some time after 12 noon EST.
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Format: Hardcover
If you want to learn more than you ever wanted to know about television news anchors, read this book. If you want to learn about American history during the past sixty years or so through the camera's lens, read this book. If you want to try to identify what is going to happen next in broadcast news journalism, read this book.

I learned a few things, but this book was not really my cup of tea. But it was a Christmas present, and I'll read just about anything, so I read it.
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Format: Hardcover
Anchors away? A look at how TV news is changing
By John Kornacki
You know it's going to happen, and it's infuriating. The president of the United States has just finished the State of the Union speech, and Tom Brokaw (or Peter Jennings or Dan Rather) will tell you what he just said and what was important. He will say something about the delivery of the speech, too. Though he is trying to be objective and analytical, the selection of key points from a speech is basically a matter of individual judgment; any impression about the delivery is strictly subjective.
Some viewers are fed up with what they see as a condescending and patronizing attitude expressed by today's news anchors. Others are miffed by perceived bias.
Either way, if you look at the ratings, more and more viewers are looking at alternatives to the network news offered by the cable channels or by new media like the Internet. Still others tune out to watch Paris Hilton, QVC or anything but the news.
To blame Brokaw et al. for the falloff is to fault their mentors, the men who pioneered the role of anchorman and set formulas that had worked for a generation or two.
When John Chancellor or Walter Cronkite summed up key news items and events, we accepted it: "That's the way it is," said Uncle Walter, the most trusted man in America.
So what happened to television news and the people delivering it over the past 20 years? Did something happen to us? Television journalist Jeff Alan and writer James M. Lane provide some answers to these questions in Anchoring America.
To understand the modern television anchorman or -woman, one must go back to its creation by a man who didn't think much of TV as a news medium and never really sat in the TV anchor chair: Edward R. Murrow of CBS News.
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