Jim Gardner’s important signoff

Anchor Jim Gardner had a really good run — 46 years at 6abc, one less than the 47 I logged at the Daily News.

Jim Gardner saying goodbye

During his last turn as anchor on Wednesday he said something about the press that mimicked what I said on my last day, three years earlier.

Here’s what Jim said.


The American free press has been under attack. Not by forces from other countries, but from elements embedded in our own society, and even our own government.

It worries me deeply.

And it both feeds into and exploits people’s lack of understanding of what the Founders intended — the kind of democracy that the U.S. and only a handful of other nations aspire to. 

Thomas Jefferson said to John Jay in 1786: “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.” Jefferson would concur: No, we are not the enemy of the people. 


He didn’t mention Donald J. Trump, and he didn’t have to. Most of us knew who had declared the press to be the enemy of the people.

We are the people.

We are sometimes imperfect and get things wrong.

A very few of us distort, invent or lie. I have had the pleasure of exposing the cheats among us. Most reporters hate the cheats. 

But the overwhelming majority do the job with honor. You’ll have to take my word for this, because I know more journalists than do you.

The vast majority work from facts, not from bias. 

But since everyone sees things through their own filters, it’s important to use more than one news source. That’s the best way to get the full picture.

35 thoughts on “Jim Gardner’s important signoff”

  1. Good morning, Stu.

    You get a pass with this one. I, too, have decades of experience and know more journalists than most. What you write about most journalists being honorable may — MAY — have been true when we started out. It ain’t today. And the bad ones today are off the chart bad. Ask Gardiner why he didn’t push his bosses to dig deeper into D.A. Krasner, for starters. And I won’t even start with all the Twitter Files have uncovered. Sorry — even you should admit that those in today’s Inky ARE the enemy of the people. Tragic. And disturbing,

      1. Read it. Respectfully suggest that, in today’s world, it is more theory than practice.

        I’m with you in longing for Old School journalism.

        And the 5 Ws? I struggle to find even two or three in the first couple grafs of far too many news article. Poor basic grammar, misspellings, misuse of your/you’re, their/there, etc. — appalling. And that’s on top of pushing a flawed narrative, or ignoring a topic that doesn’t fit a “news” organization’s narrative or agenda.

        The proverbial barrel of apples has had its ratio reversed — only a few good ones left.

        “Completeness: The story answers the 5 Ws and the H: Who, what, where, when, why and how. The “why” is the most difficult to learn.”

  2. The failure to cover the border crisis. The Hunter Biden story not told. The corruption in the justice department and the FBI. The Russian hoax. I could go on and on. The vast majority of the press is bias and dishonest in my opinion.

    1. As you may know, I don’t defend ANYONE they are wrong. You mention 4 items. Even if I accept them at face value, EVERY DAY newspapers (the big ones) publish scores of stories, maybe hundreds counting features and finance and sports.

    1. EVERYTHING is fake? Except what he and Sean Hannity tell you is real?
      You know, on the other side, there are those who believe NOTHING on Fox News.
      You are wrong, and they are wrong.

  3. Two of the Mantras of that orange-skinned SOB and his his fanatical ass-kissers:
    If we win an election it is fair. If we lose an election it is rigged.
    If the news is in our favor it is correct, if not, it is fake news.

  4. When I read that more than 90% of TV and newspaper ‘reporters’ acknowledge they are liberals and Democrats, I find it easy to be more than a little suspicious about what I am being told — or not told.

    A re-reading of ‘The Spike’ might be in order for the latest generation.

    1. Majority of news professionals are liberal. That doesn’t mean they can’t write an objective story. The real slant is in what the editors choose to print.

      1. Do you really believe one’s political persuasion is not reflected in what (or how) one reports? Do you really believe DT or RMN (or even Ronald Reagan) got a fair shake from the liberal media? Do you really believe there has been fairness in reporting on Hunter Biden? Americans used to believe what they were told, until they learned what they were NOT being told (hello, Vietnam). It’s been downhill ever since.

        1. Bill Clinton got dragged through the mud & raked over the coals by the so-called “liberal media”.

  5. Despite the deluded individuals commenting above, you are correct, Stu. I also studied journalism, though I never really worked a full-time job in the field. We were taught ethics at every step of the way, and it was INGRAINED in me to behave honestly and report truthfully and accurately. What the evil Trump has done is the undermine people’s trust in the news, and this holds potentially dire consequences, as evidenced by what happened in Germany in the 1930s when Hitler and his ilk did the exact same thing. I will admit that the print press is a very different animal than those cable TV jokers (I NEVER, EVER watch cable news). But I remain convinced that MOST people working in the field are forthright and trying to do the right thing. Until people like Daniel come to their sense and realize what a lying sack of shit Trump is (and always HAS been), our Democracy is in grave danger.

    1. The response from (Brain) Freeze is typical of the Left’s thinking: anyone who disagrees with the Left is ‘deluded.’

      What allowed Fox (and other alternative sites) to prosper was the need for some semblance of balance in reporting. As John Paul Getty famously said, “If you want to succeed, find a need and fill it.” There was a need (obviously) for balance, and Fox and others filled it.

    2. Freeze, Daniel, and the others like him, will never admit to the orange-skinned SOB being a lying piece of shit. They very much agree with him and his views.

  6. My Dad, may he be resting in peace, told me many things in my youth. One of them was: “John, believe half of what you read, and nothing of what you hear.” I’ll go onto the hereafter with that fine instruction from my Dad.

      1. Stu, I, too, was taught to evaluate things. I was told to “dig deeper” to get as much information as possible before I form an opinion or make a decision. It has served me well, in both my private life and in business. I still do that today.

        1. In a conversation I had with Sam Katz, he told me he “never” watches Fox.
          I told him that he was missing stories not reported elsewhere.
          I tell the same to people who say they never read the Times or WaPo.

  7. I’ve thought about this and I’m not really sure it was necessary for Gardner to make the “enemy of the people” comments. It was a distraction that seemed to diminished an otherwise classy sign-off. Nobody was accusing (nor did they ever accuse) Gardner of being “an enemy” of anyone. He conveyed fairness and accuracy. His work spoke for itself and it stood the test of time. So, nothing further needed to be said. But maybe, for Gardner, this was a just a final gesture to his colleagues — his was of saying “I’m with you; I’m part of the tribe and I always will be.” Whatever . . . .

    Well pallie,
    Today was a busy day. I was down 9th St., a few other places in South Philly, then up to Port Richmond ( Stock’s Bajer for pound cake ) and a order of fish from Alaska. Had I more tome, I would have checked in on you.
    Talking heads. Do you remember Diane Allen? Beautiful woman and family. Went on to become a N.J. State Senator.
    Jim O’Brien?, Gardner ? All talking heads. Someone wrote their copy for that night and they convinced you that this was it .
    Anyone notice we have another big hole in our pocket ? 1.7 TRILLION ! Talking heads. Been that way for decades and each year it gets worse.
    All of you sheep just sit back and complain about empty suits while we all go to the poor house.
    BTW. Vince was right. The bulletin had me serving on board a carrier in the ‘Med” while I was actually over VN.

    1. Are you SURE someone else wrote Jim Gardner’s copy? I am not.
      Jim O’Brien wrote his own copy. Not sure about Diane Allen.
      Most anchors started as reporters and wrote their own stuff. o’Brien started as the goofy weatherman but successfully transitioned into a credible news anchor.

    2. Tony,
      Did you ever notice the colors of Diane Allen’s eyes? One blue, the other green.
      Ah! Stocks pound cake, the best! Merry Christmas Tony and Happy Birthday!
      And Merry Christmas to all here!

      1. HAPPY SATURDAY !!!
        Did you know that Dianne Allen was a pretty good tennis player ? That she’s my height but much more beautiful ? I played soccer with Sam, our sons played soccer together at Morrestown Friends.
        MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of you Wettens ! A happy and healthy NEW YEAR !

  9. Stu,
    The “debate” you unleashed shows once again how lead in the drinking water has hobbled many Phildalephians’ ability to think. My friend Jim Gardner / Goldman has long been proud of his writing and rewriting copy before he delivers it, to make sure it’s accurate and understandable. The biggest mistake this nation made was to repeal “The Fairness Doctrine” assuring all views were broadcast to the public, with proper attempts at accuracy. When that approach was abolished, the boundary between news and opinion, fact and fiction went out the window. For all the shouting about barriers at our borders, how about making America great again (as it was during LBJ’s Great Society) by reinstituting a fairness doctrine with a fence between reality and fantasy for all media?

    1. The so-called ‘fairness doctrine’ stifled news. E.g., if you put a 30-second comment on the air by one politician, then you had to have 30-second comments from EVERY politician running for the same office. If a station aired one side of an issue, it had to open its airways to opposing views, even from the nuttiest of orgs or people. The death of the fairness doctrine brought the radio business back to life. That’s why the Left loves it: it would have prevented people like Rush Limbaugh from having a show (or Rachel Maddow, for that matter).

Comments are closed.