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David and DeForest

Published Tuesday, June 11, 2013 @ 7:04 AM EDT
Jun 11 2013

David McClure Brinkley (July 10, 1920 - June 11, 2003) was an American newscaster for NBC and ABC in a career lasting from 1943 to 1997.

From 1956 through 1970, he co-anchored, with Chet Huntley, NBC's top-rated nightly news program, The Huntley–Brinkley Report, and thereafter appeared as co-anchor or commentator on its successor, NBC Nightly News, through the 1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s, Brinkley was host of This Week with David Brinkley and a top commentator on election-night coverage for ABC News. Over the course of his career, Brinkley received ten Emmy Awards, three George Foster Peabody Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Brinkley is also remembered for an exchange that occurred several days before his previously announced retirement. It happened at the end of ABC News' live coverage of the 1996 presidential election, in which Bill Clinton defeated Bob Dole to win a second term.

Brinkley: "I wish to say that we all look forward with great pleasure to four years of wonderful, inspiring speeches full of wit, poetry, music, love and affection. More goddamn nonsense."

Peter Jennings: "You can't say that on the air, Mr. Brinkley."

Brinkley: "Well, I'm not on the air."

Jennings: "David, we are on the air."

Brinkley: "Too bad. I told you I was leaving."

Brinkley's explanation:

Brinkley's complete three-hour interview can be viewed here. It's worth the time.


A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him.

Most of my life I've simply been a reporter covering things, and writing and talking about it.

People have the illusion that all over the world, all the time, all kinds of fantastic things are happening. When in fact, over most of the world, most of the time, nothing is happening.

The one function TV news performs very well is that when there is no news we give it to you with the same emphasis as if there were.

Washington DC is a city filled with people who think they are important.


Actor DeForest Kelley, famous for his role as Dr. Leonard McCoy in the original Star Trek television and movie series, died on this date in 1999. Our tribute to him is here.

Categories: David Brinkley, Quotes of the day


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