Diane Sawyer and Tom Brokaw Reflect on Nancy Reagan’s Relationship With the Media

By Chris Ariens 

Katie Couric, Sam Donaldson, Larry King, and Chris Matthews were among the TV news anchors attending today’s farewell for Nancy Reagan. ABC’s Diane Sawyer and NBC’s Tom Brokaw were among those who spoke at the funeral.

Before reading from the Gospel, Sawyer delivered some personal remarks about the many lunches she and others would have with Mrs. Reagan during trips to Los Angeles.

“Make no mistake,” Sawyer said, “she would bop journalists, and I mean BOP any journalist in this room–and we know this–if she didn’t like a report you had done. But unlike so many people these days, she never seemed to harden differences into definitions. She was way too interested in people and who you really were and what you really knew, all of us woven together in this life,” Sawyer said.


NBC’s Tom Brokaw talked about how, as a young reporter in the NBC News bureau in Los Angeles, he was assigned to cover Ronald Reagan‘s long-shot run for Governor of California 50 years ago. That’s when Brokaw met Nancy Reagan for the first time. “The unlikely friend of a reporter,” Brokaw called her.

Reagan went on to win that election. And later, after he’d been elected President, Brokaw went on NBC and talked about how Reagan’s “poor boy narrative was somewhat overblown.” When Mrs. Reagan heard that, Brokaw said, “Nancy was furious.” Brokaw was told to “stay clear of the White House for a while.” They eventually made up at a State Dinner, where Brokaw asked, “Back to square one?”

The next day Brokaw received a White House photograph with the inscription, ‘Tom, back to square one. Love, Nancy.’