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Saturday, November 26, 2016
Art & Entertainment ... Politics ...

Way back in 2004, I posted a somewhat tongue-in-cheek blog note about my infatuation with PBS newscaster Gwen Ifill. My note was a bit silly, but I really did admire Ms. Ifill and her highly-professional journalistic work, after watching her many times on PBS. She later showed up as a moderator at some of the big political debates, including the 2008 vice-presidential debate (Joe Biden versus Sarah Palin) and one of the 2016 Democratic candidate debates (Hillary Clinton versus Bernie Sanders . . . ah, that was only a few months ago, but now it seems worlds away). And she seemed just fine this past summer covering the Democratic and GOP conventions, being fair and yet insightful as usual. So I was quite saddened to hear that Ms. Ifill passed away earlier this month (Nov. 14) after battling cancer since late 2015.

To be honest, I have not watched the PBS Newshour for several years years now, nor did I stay up with Ms. Ifill’s other show, “Washington Week”. But I did hear or see occasional references to her via radio or web-based news sources (my primary sources of news these days; I don’t look at print newspapers nor watch much TV anymore). And I did see her on PBS during the convention — same Gwen Ifill that I had so admired in the past. I now read that Ms. Ifill stayed “in the drivers seat” on these shows up thru the last full month of her life (October), despite going through chemotherapy and losing her strength. Looks like she was still Tweeting away thru October 28.

Gwen Ifill was one of the few that was given a chance at the big time in media, and she responded by putting her whole life into what she did. The quality of what Ms. Ifill gave to the public through her career was entirely apparent. Of course, David Brooks beat me to that idea — right after Ifill’s death, Brooksie wrote that Ifill was “ambitious for quality”.

Well, my little tribute to Gwen Ifill here is very small potatoes following the tributes of a multitude of luminaries, from President Obama on down. I don’t know if Donald Trump had any comments about Ifill, (maybe it was best that he didn’t), but Paul Ryan and Sarah Palin both offered their regrets. We have lost a very powerful voice of reason just as we enter a new political era that is too often driven by anything but reason.

I’ll let David Brooks, one of Ms. Ifill’s fellow media voices, have the last word:

Now that Gwen is dead, who is the next best thing? There’s nobody. There are many great people who will follow her example. But nobody quite reminds you of Gwen.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 11:13 pm      
 
 


  1. Jim, I too was sorry to hear Gwen Ifill died; she was very young and had a sudden death. I liked her very much although my listening to her was sporadic.

    So, I join you in your memorial piece. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — November 27, 2016 @ 2:34 pm

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