Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brian Williams's Father Was More Important Than Dan Rostenkowski

One way to gauge a person's importance is by the length of his or her obituary. On Aug. 9, Ann Curry ended Nightly News by narrating a 45-second obituary for Brian Williams's father, Gordon, who had recently died. On the Aug. 11 broadcast, Curry narrated a 25-second obituary for former Illinois Congressman Dan Rostenkowski. Rostenkowski had been a U.S. Representative for 36 years and had been one of the most powerful people in the U.S. House. For 13 years, he served as chairman of the important House Ways and Means Committee. Infamous as well as famous, Rostenkowski served 15 months in federal prison for mail fraud. From Rostenkowski's Wikipedia entry: "The book 'Chicago and the American Century' credited Rostenkowski with securing billions of dollars for projects in Chicago and throughout Illinois. The book named him the sixth most significant politician to come from Chicago in the twentieth century." Dan Rostenkowski was a pretty important guy. But Gordon Williams's Nightly News obituary was almost twice as long as Rostenkowski's. Good thing they don't play favorites on Nightly News.

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