Ellin’s thoughts on getting to know TV reporters on a more personal basis motivated me to sit down and explore my own feelings about the journalists who are helping me navigate my days.
Something good from something bad
by Ellin Snow, Lynnwood, WA
A rather interesting benefit of our sheltering-in-place during Covid-19 is the fact that many news commentators are broadcasting from their homes. The camera not only records their faces but also the rooms from which they are broadcasting. This adds a level of humanness to their reports, as far as I am concerned.
I enjoy trying to see what books are on the bookshelves behind many of them, as well as noticing the art on their walls, the colors of those walls, and the sentimental objects displayed on various shelves behind or next to the reporters. Each thing I notice tells me more about someone who used to be rather anonymous to me.
I do enjoy thinking about these folks’ lives and I appreciate, as I hear their reports, that they are living, breathing, experiencing human beings and not just readers of the news. I wish them well as I thank this insidious virus for one of its actual benefits!
Dinner with D Lemon
by Ruth Neuwald Falcon, Seattle, WA
I started listening to Chris Cuomo on an almost daily basis about four or five months ago, at first thinking, What a New York loudmouth (neither a compliment nor, exactly, an insult). But as the weeks went on, I came to look forward to his morning show on Sirius-XM (I am hooked on Sirius-XM, where I can listen to CNN and MSNBC without having the TV on), knowing I could trust him to speak with a minimum of bullshit about whatever topic caught his attention, which increasingly was coronavirus-related. His interviews are never got’cha’s. He is genuinely interested in the views expressed by his callers, many of them regulars. He is always happy to hear from them. Asks about their families. Teases them. Listens to them respectfully. Some of the callers are on the opposite end of the political spectrum but acknowledge the same traits of fairness and integrity that I have come to respect so much. I started watching his evening program on CNN, tuning in on my computer on the kitchen table.
When he was diagnosed with Covid-19 on March 31, I was not surprised. Neither, by the sound of it, was he. For a couple of weeks beforehand, I had wanted to call in, to say, Chris! We need you. We need your voice on the air now. Please be more careful. Take care of yourself.
I know many others were telling him the same thing. It never works to tell people to “take care of themselves.”
Now he is broadcasting from his basement, his face often red and sweaty (more than two weeks into his battle with the coronavirus and still feverish, still weak). He is reporting on the ravages of this disease from the inside. Now his wife is ill as well.
Chris keeps me company while I prepare my dinner. Then D Lemon (as Chris calls him) comes on and sits with me while I eat. Their styles are radically different but their caring for each other is palpable, as is their pain and commitment to tell the truth about what is going on.
I’ve never heard men say I love you to each other so much. The Cuomo brothers. Don Lemon. Anderson Cooper. Sanjay Gupta. None of them afraid to say the words and show the feelings.
I see these men more than anyone else these days. They are my companions and guides through this journey in isolation. As much as I value their reportorial abilities, it is their personal openness that is particularly precious to me. On the phone the other day with a friend who does not have cable, I found myself choking up as I told her about these TV newsmen. It was during the first week of Chris’s illness and I, along with countless others, was worried about him.
While I want this blog to be a place where I and others can feel safe being vulnerable, I confess to feeling some self-consciousness about sharing how important their companionship is to me. But I suspect I am not the only one to harbor such feelings, and if Chris and Andrew, Sanjay, Don and Anderson, on national television, can tear up and say, I love you, on a regular basis, well, I can reveal a little of myself here.
That was powerful. When my brother was sick it would warm my heart that his friends weren’t afraid to show how they felt about him. They would often lean over his wheelchair and kiss him goodbye. It wasn’t until after he was gone that I realized he never kissed them back and then realized he couldn’t because he was paralyzed. These men Of CNN are lucky and smart not to wait until they’re dying. And maybe their demonstrative affections are an even more important message than the news. Hugs, Andy Sent from my iPhone
You touch my heart, Andy. I agree that their demonstrative affections might well be the most important message the journalists are communicating. Though maybe it’s a draw, since we are in such desperate need of facts, intelligently presented. Take good care.
For some time, I was a MSNBC devotee. But lately I have also been tuning in to CNN. I have been watching Chris Cuomo as he is recovering from the Coronavirus. I am grateful for his being so open about the toll this virus took on him. Every time I wonder if I am being over cautious, Chris is a reminder that this is nothing to be casual about.
Andrew Cuomo demonstrates leadership qualities and a genuine caring for the people of New York. Sanjay, D. Lemon and Anderson are my TV companions also. I admit, trying to read the books on their bookshelves when they are broadcasting from home and looking at the photos and art work. It does make them more real. I am grateful for the work they do.
Ellin and Ruth, thanks for being vulnerable and sharing. We are in this together.
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I loved reading this one. I, too, am an observer – and also like to see the homes that people with whom we spend our TV time have. What makes them comfortable in their decorations… on and on. Great article!
You speak to a kind of presence in these men, reflected in yourself as well, that Invites in our separateness more of our togetherness. A timely and deeply felt gift, Ruth.