In a new interview, legendary modern journalist Tom Brokaw praised Breitbart News for the in depth research undergirding its reportage and noted that too many news outlets today seem to draw conclusions before facts are in.
Filling in for Michael DelGiorno on 99.7 FM WWTN in Nashville, Breitbart’s own Michael P. Leahy, who has had a long friendship with the famed NBC journalist, interviewed Brokaw this week about his new book, “A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope.” The NBC anchor’s new book tells the story of his recent medical scare and the drama and introspection that the incident brought him.
As the book’s blurb notes, Tom Brokaw has led a fortunate life. As a bestselling author with twenty-two years as anchor of the NBC Nightly News and his stature as one of the nation’s most respected journalists, he stands head and shoulders above many of his colleagues in the news business. But two years ago, back pain led him to the doctors at the Mayo Clinic, where he received shocking news: He had multiple myeloma, a treatable but incurable blood cancer. As Brokaw notes, “It turns out that star has a dimmer switch.”
Michael Patrick Leahy has been corresponding with the famed journalist for several years, and it is a relationship that Brokaw says he has come to cherish.
Brokaw had kind words, not just for his friend Leahy, who works as a long-time Breitbart correspondent, but for Breitbart News itself.
As the interview wound down, Leahy asked Brokaw what he thought about Breitbart News.
“First of all because of our relationship I have been very impressed with the quality of research that you do,” Brokaw said. “Whenever a story breaks and I hear from you, it’s very clear that the team with you–that you work with–has done a first rate job of getting down to the bottom of whatever is going on and backing it up with hard facts.”
But from there Brokaw went on to discuss the news industry more generally.
I guess the issue that I have with all the news organizations that have a political MO, if you will, attached to them is that they sometimes jump to conclusions about what this will mean. Get ahead of themselves. I have no problem whatsoever with a kind of political overview or an ideological overview for any of these outlets as long as it’s transparent. We know where Breitbart stands, we know where Fox stands, where MSNBC stands. So, people go in with an understanding of that. But I think your great, great strength is the quality of the research that you do. And then you use that research, obviously, to reinforce a point of view.
Brokaw then related his experience on how during the “Bridgegate” scandal, MSNBC “convicted” New Jersey Chris Christie before the facts were in.
Sometimes it seems to me, not just with Breitbart, but with MSNBC and with all the others, there’s a little bit of a reach that gets a little ahead of itself. I was at MSNBC, I was constantly saying to them during Bridgegate, you’ve convicted Governor Christie without one iota of fact attaching him to the decision to stall the traffic on the bridge. Why don’t we wait until the federal government or the state government… completes its investigation. So, that’s how I feel, I’m an old fashioned journalist and, you know, I like to see the facts first and get to the opinions later.
Brokaw also had a few words for those who have judged him harshly, left or right.
Sometimes I find myself, when I read about me on the Internet–which I rarely do–is that they all but have me as the stepchild of Karl Marx, then there are other people who go too far the other way. You know, I’m a working journalist, I’m interested in all points of view and I draw conclusions based on facts, not just on opinions.
Brokaw’s new book can be found at any online bookseller as well as you local stores.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.