Doodad Kind of Town

I Miss Jack Cafferty in the Mornings….
July 26, 2007, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Here’s a little YouTube clip that cheered my heart. Jack Cafferty of CNN actually refused, on-air, to read the story of Lindsay Lohan’s latest DUI – asking that the story be removed from his teleprompter:

Ah, Mr. Cafferty, how I’ve missed you!

Time was, in my house, weekday mornings started with coffee and CNN. Every day at 5:40 am, I’d settle into my sofa with a fresh, hot mug and turn on “American Morning.” There was my preppy-cute, early morning crush, Bill Hemmer. Beside him, Soledad O’Brien, likable in a Katie Couric sort of way, but not nearly so full of herself. And slightly off to the side, perched on a stool and slouching with irritated world-weariness, was dear, curmudgeonly Jack Cafferty. Never smiling, always scowling. Bill would throw out a headline, Soledad would chime in with some other breaking news story, then it was over to Jack who would let loose with some cranky, disgusted, “Can you believe this?” commentary on whatever in the world was happening that day that struck him as particularly absurd.

Bill and Soledad had solidness and likability covered, and waking up to them was like settling down for a nice, comfort-food breakfast, even when the news was bad. They gave it to you straight, were objective. Cafferty, however, was the shot of Tabasco in your morning omelet; he was there to get your brain working and your motor racing. He was simply incapable of reporting on government corruption or celebrity fluffery without sharing whatever derisive comments were going through his (and everyone else’s) minds. In the the world of morning news, where reporters are usually well-coiffed and smiling, Cafferty kept it bearably real.

But some programming “genius” swooped in – as “geniuses” are wont to do – and remade “American Morning.” Gone was Bill Hemmer – reportedly offered a demotion to CNN’s afternoon programming. Bill said “No, thanks,” and absconded to Fox News. (FOX NEWS?!? WHY, BILL, WHY????). The personality-free Miles O’Brien took the anchor chair next to Soledad O’Brien, apparently no relation. And dear Mr. Cafferty was shuffled off to deliver shots of his well-practiced curmudgeonliness in the dead of the afternoon in Wolf Blitzer’s “Situation Room.” One media wag at the time said that Cafferty “scares people who just want to eat their damn breakfast cereal.” Well, I vehemently disagree. Everyone I know who watched “American Morning,” watched it for Jack Cafferty. And I think we all got our cereal down just fine.

I don’t know who watches “American Morning” now; I don’t. I’ve long ago switched to the local NBC affiliate with occasional jaunts over to “Morning Joe” on MSNBC. Now with “Mild” and Soledad at the anchor desk, mornings at CNN have become just so much televised wallpaper. (There’s also an alarmingly high percentage of “Freak show” news – think Anna Nicole- as opposed to real news, a phenomenon that CNN founder, Ted Turner derided as “pervert of the day coverage” years after he sold the station to Time Warner.) Apparently, however, Mr. Cafferty is still doing his thing, if only at an inopportune time for most people with jobs to be able to enjoy it. Fortunately, we have You Tube, which means his best moments are available to savor anytime.

Here’s another one: Enjoy.

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