David Brinkley, who died last week at the age of 82, was a not only a friend of mine, but my writing mentor. I used to file the correspondent's scripts when I was a copyboy at NBC news in the early sixties.
Reading Brinkley's prose was a great writing course. He wrote like he talked. I do the same thing in my newspaper column, as a result of his influence.
When the Huntley-Brinkley report ruled the ratings, there was no better news program anywhere. Brinkley, a modest man, rejected the idea that he invented anything. "I just got here early," he said.
I had him as a guest on my old CNBC television program. There is a picture of me, the host, with David standing behind me - his hands on my shoulders and an enormous smile on his face. He didn't do that sort of thing often. I took it as a sign of approval.
David Brinkley will be buried this week in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina. There will never be another broadcast journalist like him, because management isn't looking for his kind nowadays. And that's too bad, because journalism is a diminished field without him, and without his example.
I'm Cal Thomas in Washington.