HELLO AMERICA!—During his early years as news anchor at the NBC Burbank station during the 1970s, the world viewed a different Tom Brokaw. Those who worked with him or assigned to staff the main news hour claim that he was considered the new “golden boy” of that news hour and he knew it. One informant offered: “Tom knew he had the power and it used it to his advantage, of course. He had little empathy or concern for anyone of his staff working to help make his hour in front of the camera special. He would openly embarrass them or put them down. His main concern was himself and that was it.”
One AD (Associate Director) requested not to be named said: “Tom was not a nice or respectful person, he was rude to the new people assigned to the show. It was all about Brokaw, end of story.” It was further claimed that the newsman presented a different face to those considered on his level at the station. “He seemed to shift different faces politically even. If he was with a liberal, you would see a different more compassionate Tom, however, if a conservative leaning guest appeared, a different Brokaw would appear. It was very confusing, complex and it was a mystery as to who this man really was,” the informant said.
In 2013, Brokaw was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare incurable blood cancer. It is a disease that is not curable, but treatable. When understanding this, Tom was shocked into a different reality. One which forced him to see life as he lived it but suddenly forced to face what really is.
His acceptance of his life’s dilemma quickly became evident when he changed his professional obligations. He minimized his on-camera responsibilities when at the network. There would only be necessary appearances in response to big and glaring news breaks which he might offer his professional and experienced point of view.
NBC quickly agreed to such an arrangement. Suddenly appeared a different Tom Brokaw personality on camera. He seemed more sensitive, compassionate and concerned about the current issue at hand. In other words, the viewers were treated to a warmer and kinder Brokaw.
Another NBC veteran offered: “Tom is only one of those gifted young people offered the world they had always dreamed of in this business who didn’t really understand how to handle it. Power, at times, does this to one. Especially, if it has never been a natural part of your development years or you come from a background of struggle. It’s understandable. But sadly, many people don’t survive too long if they refuse to realize that that kind of success usually lasts for a short time. When you or your show begin to lose numbers or an audience, you might have been considered ‘the’ golden boy of one time but just as quickly looked upon as baggage. And that is the nature of the beast, sadly I must say!”