TCA 2012: Tom Brokaw Is Not Ready for 'Old Anchorman's Home'

Tom Brokaw Headshot - P 2012
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Tom Brokaw Headshot - P 2012

Tom Brokaw earned a rare laugh from the room full of beleaguered media reporters Thursday, day 13 of the long Television Critics Association summer press tour.

“I know you’ve been held for three weeks without food and water, forced to listen to everything we have to say,” he said by way of an open for a session about his Military Channel series The Brokaw Files.

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The series, which is produced by NBC News and Peacock Productions, will revisit pivotal moments and news stories from Brokaw’s long career in TV news. “We have a very rich archive of material that is important to this country and instructive in many ways,” he said.

Brokaw appeared via satellite from London, where he’s part of the NBC News contingent covering the Olympics. Brokaw Files, which bows Oct. 16, will use key interviews including those with Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev woven with never-before-seen footage and fresh perspective from Brokaw. In keeping with Military Channel’s armed services milieu, the series also will examine the decision-making process surrounding current conflicts including the war in Afghanistan.

Brokaw passed the Nightly News baton to Brian Williams in 2004 when he moved into an emeritus role at NBC News. Since then he’s written two books, done multiple primetime documentaries and continues to report for NBC News. While in London, he’s working on a piece about Roger Bannister, the first man to run the four-minute mile.

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I guess I could put my feet up and go to the old anchorman's rest home and eat soft food,” he said. “But I’m just not going to do that.”

Asked for his opinion of a spate of recent TV news errors associated with the Aurora, Colo., shootings and the Supreme Court’s decision on President Obama’s health care overhaul, Brokaw noted: “Mistakes have always been a part of journalism including in the print business, I might add.”

And he pointed out that the correction section of certain newspapers is not “getting any smaller.”

“There’s just a lot more on the air now and the pressure to get there first is considerable,” he said, adding, “the important part about making a mistake in journalism is catching it [and] acknowledging it.”

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And then he used the question to seamlessly pivot back to his Military Channel series offering that Brokaw Files would present a more “reflective” point of view.

“We’ll give the country a longer view,” he said.

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