Three Evening News Anchors Walk Onto a Plane…

By Alex Weprin 

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Fox News Channel senior VP Michael Clemente is featured in this week’s “Frequent Flier” column in the New York Times.

The executive, who spent many years at ABC News before joining FNC, recalls a rather remarkable story involving the three evening news anchors at the time, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather and Peter Jennings.

Specifically, Clemente recalls the three anchors and their staff, all flying back to New York from France on the same flight:

Though everyone made a great show of being cordial, it was awkward because there are always some underlying issues about ratings. The people who were in first place were the happiest.

Within a few minutes of the plane taking off, a light went on in the cabin indicating a problem. The plane had to dump some fuel and circle back to the airport. It wasn’t a big deal. No one was in any danger. It was a nonevent…

But you would have thought we were in the midst of some worldwide aviation disaster as each of the anchors immediately started phoning in reporting. It was the single most covered story in aviation history. Except it wasn’t a story.