I am stunned. And I like to think I do not stun easily.
I find myself at moments almost speechless – granted not a quality one associates with former or even current news anchors.
This is a story unlike any I have ever seen. Its contours seem to entangle this administration like a giant squid around a submarine in an old science fiction film, tentacles prying apart what once seemed solid. With a spectacle like this, it’s sometimes important to pause and try to take in as wide a picture as possible. There is so much we do not know, but what we know already is gravely striking. What the president, his lawyer, and others have already copped to would be enough to almost roll credits in a mob film. I apologize for the multiple cinematic allusions, but this story defies the imagination normally required for real life.
For most of my life, my job was to try to make sense of events, big and small, in real-time. Sort of like a play by play broadcaster relating to an audience what is transpiring, often ad-libbing as new details emerge.
I find myself wondering what it would be like to be in the midst of this story, either on the ground in Washington or in an anchor chair, tapping the incoming rivers of information from reporters, on Capitol Hill, at the White House, and at other perches necessary for covering this rapidly metastasizing narrative.
What I return to, as I think back at other moments of crisis and uncertainty, is the need as a reporter and as a citizen to remain steady. Now steadiness should not be confused with apathy or detachment. We need to be engaged, with a steely determination to get to the bottom of what seems to be but the tip of a proverbial iceberg. There are many leads to follow, many new angles emerging. We cannot afford to lose grasp of the threads of the much bigger story arc.
This is unprecedented. This is dangerous. But this is also necessary. We cannot panic in the face of what we confront, or get overwhelmed by details. We must breathe deep, take stock, see all for what it is, methodically and fairly uncover right from wrong, truth from fiction, and ultimately we must persevere, for the sake of our nation.