Peter Jennings was probably the most progressive of the anchor persons. Although he got swept up in the mania of war and nationalism, I always started the 1730 news with ABC because I felt he would possibly present and probe the news as an objective journalist. His one-liners, or quips, or guffaws or transition lines were sometimes acerbic and strikingly independent. He also seemed to grill his reporters with questions that indicated his discarding of a routinised script.
In 1995 he did a documentary on Hiroshima that was the greatest ever reported by a news anchor. Edward R. Murrow would have been envious. It was extremely balanced and actually included the Japanese perspective and American revisionist accounts. Perhaps his independence emanated from his Canadian heritage, always more free, more egalitarian, more social democratic than the US that accounted for his detachment and refusal to be a court jester for the Evil Empire.
He died August 7, 2005 from lung cancer. If you smoke, don’t.