Peter Jennings

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

This article is about Peter Jennings the ABC News Anchor. For Peter Jennings, the scientist at the International Rice Research Institute, see Peter Randolph Jennings.

Peter Charles Jennings (July 29, 1938 – August 7, 2005) was "the lead news anchor for the ABC network. He had anchored ABC World News Tonight since 1978 and was the sole anchor from 1983 through early 2005." [1]


According to his ABC News biography,

"He was in Berlin in the 1960s when the Berlin Wall was going up and there in the 1990s when it came down. He covered the civil rights movement in the Southern United States during the 1960s and the struggle for equality in South Africa during the 1970s and 1980s. He was there when the Voting Rights Act was signed in 1965 and on the other side of the world when black South Africans voted for the first time.

"Jennings joined ABCNEWS on Aug. 3, 1964. He briefly served as the anchor of the ABC Evening News from 1965 to 1968. In 1972, he helped put ABCNEWS on the map with his gripping coverage of the Summer Olympics in Munich as Arab terrorists took Israeli athletes hostage. ... Prior to his current appointment, Jennings served as chief foreign correspondent for ABCNEWS and was the foreign desk anchor for World News Tonight from 1978 to 1983. Jennings established the first American television news bureau in the Arab world when he served as ABCNEWS' bureau chief for Beirut, Lebanon, a position he held for seven years.

"Jennings was named anchor and senior editor of World News Tonight in 1983. In the only five years that the Washington Journalism Review gave an award for the country's best anchor, Jennings was named each time. In 1995, The Boston Globe noted 'the passing of Edward R. Murrow's mantle to Peter Jennings.' He has won the Harvard University's Goldsmith Career Award for excellence in journalism and the coveted Radio and Television News Directors Paul White Award, chosen by the news directors of all three major networks. In 2001, he was awarded the Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcast from the National Press Foundation."

"He has worked in every European nation that once was behind the Iron Curtain. He was there when the independent political movement Solidarity was born in a Polish shipyard and again when Poland's communist leaders were forced from power. And he was in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Romania, and throughout the Soviet Union to record first the repression of communism and then its demise. He was one of the first reporters who went to Vietnam in the 1960s and went back to the killing fields of Cambodia in the 1980s to remind Americans that unless they did something, the terror would return. ... More recently, Jennings led the network's coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks and America's subsequent war on terrorism."


On April 5, 2005, Jennings, who had quit smoking in 1988 but briefly resumed in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, informed viewers through a taped message that he was diagnosed with lung cancer. News of his cancer was also carried on CNN and other news outlets. He also stated that he would start chemotherapy treatment the following week, but would continue to host World News Tonight when possible. However, he would never make another broadcast. ABC News's Charles Gibson and Elizabeth Vargas filled in for him as temporary anchors until his death.

Saddam Hussein

Jennings' "November 1990 interview with Saddam Hussein just before the Persian Gulf War was one of few granted to western reporters."[2]

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