5 Questions For… John Roberts

By Alissa Krinsky 

Thank you, John Roberts, for answering TV Newser’s “Five Questions”! The Harley-riding American Morning anchor is a native Canadian whose early career included stints in college radio and as a video jockey; he later moved to news, anchoring and reporting in Miami and in Canada before becoming CBS’ White House Correspondent. Roberts joined CNN last year and is married with two children.

1. TV Newser: The biggest difference between TV news in Canada and the U.S.:
Roberts: On the network level, probably the way that regional stories receive national attention. For example, a story about the fisheries might get a lot of play in New England, but wouldn’t necessarily make the radar nationally. In Canada, there are a lot of regional issues that play on the national stage – fishing and lumber, for example. There used to be a big difference in presentation. Newscasts in Canada were, for the most part formal and stiff. Nowadays, you can’t really tell the two apart. That is, until the anchor utters the words ‘about’ or ‘boat’.

2. TV Newser: Becoming an American citizen in 2001..
Roberts: It was a very moving experience. I became a citizen two weeks after September 11th. There were people in the room from more than 100 countries. I remember the judge was about to give the oath of citizenship, which requires that you swear to bear arms for the United States. She said that in light of recent events, she would understand if people might be uncomfortable with that and want to bow out. Not a single person did. We were all proud to become a part of the American experience.

3. TV Newser: Covering the war in Iraq (last year for CNN) was..
Roberts: An amazing experience. To live alongside Marines from the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance battalion was an honor and a challenge. We shared everything from danger to food. We dug holes every night to sleep in. And to a person — we all observed that there were enough troops in Iraq to win the war, but not the peace.

4. TV Newser: Best music video of all-time:
Roberts: I’d say the uncut version of Duran Duran’s “Girls On Film”, but people would think I was succumbing to base instincts. So I’ll say Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer”. That was a real paradigm-breaker.

5. TV Newser: Driving a Harley is…
Roberts: Liberating, stimulating and patriotic. Particularly the annual Rolling Thunder Ride To The Wall. You really wear your patriotism on your sleeve that day. The very essence of what it means to be an American.