I feel enormous pride today for two reasons. I am a member of the Philadelphia community, and we demonstrated a level of passion yesterday that few cities, if any, could equal. We also showed the rest of the country that we're capable of a certain cohesiveness that can overcome the political and social divides that seem to define what we are as a country right now. Look at almost any picture from the Eagles' parade and you're likely to see an example of the city's diversity d...elighting in sharing the same space and enjoying each other's company.
I also feel extraordinarily proud to be a member of the Action News team. It's a magical experience when we're covering an event that's so big that it requires the participation of virtually everyone at Channel 6. The Eagles parade was one of those events. It's an occasion that serves to remind me how incredibly talented my colleagues are, and how lucky I am to represent the work of so many people who won't get the public recognition they deserve. I'm talking about producers, managers, photographers, graphic artists and so many others who know how to make great television. And yesterday was great television. And thanks to all of you who chose Channel 6 as your window on yet another huge event for which the city has become well known. It was one great day.
There are certain public servants who seem to transcend political party, or at the very least, the worst of partisan politics. Nobody doubts John McCain's Republican cred, but he is one of a decreasing number of legislators who see the isle separating Republicans and Democrats as something less than impenetrable. McCain is a compelling figure because of what his life has been, and what he now faces in the future. It was a thoroughly interesting experience talking with McCain the night he received the Liberty Medal in Phila. And what a pleasure it was to be joined by former Vice President Joe Biden. If you have a few moments, well slightly more than a few, please watch!
We have finished our assignment in Las Vegas. It was grim business, but I'd by lying if I told you I don't appreciate the opportunity to get out into the field to do some reporting. I was pleased to make the acquaintance of Las Vegas Bishop Joseph Peppe. He's a Philadelphia native, and he told me stories of his youth in Roxborough and his time as a young priest in the Archdiocese. It was a nice moment to say hello to his 96 year old mother who was undoubtedly watching from h...er house in Roxborough. Nothing else happened here in Vegas that was quite so pleasant. Just looking at the blown out windows on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel was absolutely chilling. I know it's not my job to take part in the ongoing debate over guns. But I learned this week about bump stocks, devices to modify guns into fullyautomatic weapons, capable of firing up to 900 rounds per minute. Stephen Paddock had 12 of them in his hotel room. They are insidious, but they are legal. The gun debate is complicated. The issue of bump stocks isn't. They have no practical use other than to kill people, and a whole lot of them. Banning them is a no brainer. President Trump and Congress need to do the right thing. Thanks for watching us here in Vegas. See you back in Philadelphia.
I want to thank two consumate professionals for what they have given to Action News and our viewers. Nora Muchanic and Andy Doane are soon to retire, but not before they'll produce another few superb stories about the people of Central and South Jersey. We all came to rely on their extraordinary work, and in the best sense, took it for granted. If Action News was on the air, then naturally, Nora and Andy would make their invaluable contribution. Whether the story was serious,... sombre, sentimental or hilarious, nobody could tell it more naturally or better than Nora. She is as versatile a television journalist as I've ever known. Andy is obviously an excellent photographer, but also one of the nicest and most gracious co-workers I've ever had. His voice, by the way, sounds more like James Earl Jones than James Earl Jones. I wish both of you well, and thank you for making us better.
Thank you for all the birthday wishes and kind words for my 40th anniversary at 6 and 11. Despite some discomfort with all the attention yesterday, it was a fun experience. It also served as an opportunity to express my admiration and respect for my colleagues. Fair to say that none of us does that enough. These are obviously different times in the news business, both fascinating and filled with enormous responsibility. I just want to assure you that all of us at Action News recognize that you rely on us to "get it right" and that is our 1st, 2nd and 3rd priority. Thanks again for contributing to a meaningful day for me. We've seen a lot come and go over 40 years of broadcasts, but our appreciation of you, our audience, is permanent.
I don't normally refer you to a story in a newspaper, but this story about a young University of Pennsylvania doctor is extraordinary. He's made his own potentially deadly disease into his life's work. And he just might be winning!
So this guy Mike Neilon has taken leave of Action News after spending 20 years at Channel 6. There are people you miss professionally, and people you miss personally. I already miss him in both ways. He made enormous contributions to our journalistic output, and was a true soulmate to every photographer and reporter in our shop. We had a gathering last night to wish him well, and it turned out to be a wonderful get-together with folks from throughout the Action News and Channel 6 universe. Mike has admirers and a lot of friends. I count myself as both. Thanks Mike. Catch you at Vito's!
It's over. And while most pundits are trying to figure out who's emerging from the conventions as the winner, I've got a simple answer: Philadelphia! The Democrats may have had their issues as the DNC got underway on Monday, you know, stuff like leaked emails that threatened to run the whole convention off the rails, but from the outset, the optics of the convention were superb. The Wells Fargo Center looked great on TV both inside and out. TV networks from around the world f...
Day 3 at the DNC. How will we remember it? Will we recall the speeches of Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama? The delegates adored them both. Will we think back to Michael Bloomberg, Democrat turned Republican turned Independent. As Mayor of New York, he and Donald Trump shared the same turf, and despite Trump's protestations, Bloomberg is probably much wealthier than Trump. So he speaks with uncommon confidence born of that wealth, his intellect and standing.... Does that mean we should give his excoriation of Trump more credibility than your typical, but well crafted red meat speech? That's not for me to say, but the delegates here last night scraped every morsel of meat off the bone. And then they wanted more.
Tim Kaine took his appropriate place in the Democratic hierarchy last night, which is to say not near the top. Running mates aren't suppose to compete for heat or headlines at the Convention, and he didn't.
But Donald Trump did. He does have this knack of distracting both Democrats and the media. But yesterday, he even raised the furrowed eyebrows of his running mate. I guess that's what happens when it seems like you're asking Russian spies to do a number on your opponent. Trump later said he was just being sarcastic. OK then, if you say so.
Idina Menzel led a couple of dozen Broadway stars in song last night. I missed it, foolishly distracted by whatever we were doing at that moment, either on the air, or on line. If you've ever seen my Twitter stuff, you might have seen evidence that I love the musical theatre. As a 23 year old fresh out of Williams College, Stephen Sondheim penned the lyrics for West Side Story, "Tonight, tonight, won't be just any night.." For Hillary Clinton, there are no truer words. She has to convince the country tonight that she deserves its trust, that her empathy equals her experience, and that despite the fact she's been a part of the political landscape since 1992, and that she's been a key, not to mention controversial player in the Obama administration, she needs to be seen as an agent of change. That won't be easy, but it's really important for her because in case you haven't noticed, folks seem to want change.
Tonight, she'll have her biggest audience of the campaign, and if she's going to get her convention bounce, she has to hit this speech out of the park. Hillary Clinton is not a great speech maker. It's not her strength. And she won't be able to compete with Bill, Joe and Barack. But she does have to connect, and she does have to explain why she should be President of the United States, not just because she's a Clinton, not just because she's entitled. Even her most devoted supporters, not to mention the essential undecideds, will require much more than that.