The one real news and public policy commentary show that Jon Stewart has never been able to credibly spoof is the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. That show whether in its current form or as McNeil/Lehrer News Hour — or just as “The NewsHour” as it is now increasingly known is and has been one of the best on television — for decades.
Jim Lehrer, of whom I am an enormous fan, announced to his team by email at 9:48 this morning that he is stepping down.
Here was his note:
From: Jim Lehrer
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011 9:48 AM
Subject: PBSNH_JLannouncement_May2011FINAL (2).doc
Good morning. Here is the “official” press release [pdf here] about my future plans that is going out today. The words, as (hopefully) always, speak for themselves. I will also say something at the end of the program tonight.
All I would add now to you is basically two more words–thank you.
Thank you for what each of you has done to get us from December 2009 and before to this point in our professional lives together. We have created and nourished something that matters and that will last forever whether I am there–physically–every day or not.
Rest assured I will always be there. Always. Onward! Jim
This is the short and to the point, waste no words, firm but caring Jim Lehrer.
I have great respect for the entire team at PBS NewsHour and think that the show ought to be designated some sort of status as a US National Treasure — along the lines that Japan has designated people and institutions as national treasures. Standards for serious journalism there will continue to set the standard in the business.
But I just wanted to note that I am one who will miss Lehrer’s constant, sensible stewardship.
Let’s hope he still does a presidential debate now and then.
— Steve Clemons