Sunday, May 23, 2004

time's michael duffy on washington week in review

I'm a regular watcher of this program--one of the few tv new shows I watch. And Michael Duffy, of Time Magazine, is one of the regulars I most enjoy hearing from.

I was shocked to see how solemn he appeared this week. He's been covering the Abu Ghraib hearings, so perhaps this isn't that surprising. But it is a radical difference from his usual TV personality. Usually he's smiling, talking about people and events with a good light objectivity and a healthy cyncism. For example, talking a few weeks ago about Condi Rice's 9/11 testimony, he joked a bit about her ability to talk her way through an interview ("running down the clock").

But the last couple times I've seen him, he's been obviously downspirited, and this week was sorrowful to watch. Later in his presentation he did muster up a small laugh about something (about how no one in the military is taking responsibility for anything not written down, I think). But it was more like the kind of laugh you get at a funeral--that involuntary kind to break the tension without forgetting the tragedy of the moment.

Gwenn Ifill was extremely solemn as well this week, particularly during Duffy's segment. Abu Ghraib seems to be weighing extremely heavily on some of our seasoned journalists. Although sad, this is far preferable to Ifill's unseemly "isn't this exciting" sparkle the week of the "Mission Accomplished" speech. (Note: I tried to find this in the WWIR archives but couldn't find it. I may be remembering wrong--I'm sure I'm not--or that little clip has gone down the memory hole.)