Charlie Gibson On Familiar Territory and New Ground

By Chris Ariens Comment

Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

Gibson_8.25.jpgBlah, blah, blog.

ABC’s Charlie Gibson, not a big fan of blogs, yesterday became the last Big 3 anchor to launch his own.

A gentleman of the Old School, Gibson, 65, says his only concern is the pretentious navel-gazing endemic to the blogosphere. Two words rarely apply there: Unexpressed thought.

“There are a lot of people who think they know things other people want to hear. I’m just not sure I’m one of them,” Gibson says from the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

“I think these things can tend to be a little self-serving and self-aggrandizing. That’s my only objection to blogs. I don’t know that we’ll show our dirty linen, but I’ll try to be as honest as I can and do a little ‘value added’ stuff.”

Part of the broadcast’s redesigned website, Gibson’s debut “World Newser” blog featured memorable moments from his previous 17 conventions. He tapped it out in 45 minutes, he says.

When he’s too jammed up to write, he’ll take a pass for that day. “You can’t be a slave to this stuff.” He says he would never allow someone else do the blog under his name.

Gibson reads blogs “on occasion;” none regularly. “Is there time in the day to read these things?” He says he checks out Brian Williams’ “every once in a while,” and Katie Couric’s about once a month.

As for anchoring his first convention, Gibson isn’t feeling any butterflies. That already happened, on Election Night ’06, he says. With Diane Sawyer at his side this week, “it feels a bit like we’re back doing ‘Good Morning America.'”

With a twist, of course.

“They throw around the word historic a lot in conventions and yet this one really is. Whether you favor Obama or McCain, you can’t help but notice what a lot of us thought would never happen in this country.”

For Gibson, it’s personal. When he began his career 40 years ago in Lynchburg, Va., it was so racially divided that the high school had separate newspapers for black and white students and the town paper didn’t publish stories about blacks, Gibson says.

“If you had told me that before I died, one of the major parties in this country would nominate an African American for president, I’d be amazed. If you told me he would go to Lynchburg to campaign [as Obama did last week], I’d be stunned.”

Gibson and “World News” executive producer Jon Banner are both stunned by a certain competitor’s claim of having “the best political team on television.”

“Despite what some cable networks say, I don’t know how you can look at it any other way but that we have the best team on television,” Banner says.

Says Gibson: “I want to do better than the other guys.”

Speaking of doing better, Obama’s decision to deliver his acceptance speech Thursday at Invesco Field, an outdoor football stadium, may not work to his advantage, in Gibson’s view.

“It will be interesting if it rains. I’m curious if the campaign has 75,000 ponchos to go.”