My life defined by CNN, war, and Wolf BlitzerMarch 22, 2011
It’s sad commentary that so much of my life has been defined by CNN, war, and Wolf Blitzer. Dating back to 1990 with the birth of my first daughter, I spent 3 a.m. feedings warming apple juice and watching the Gulf War, the first Gulf War, the one before the other Mideast wars, unfold.
Wolf Blitzer was new to CNN back then and worked the overnight shift, lousy hours for such a great on-air talent. A news blackout relegated Wolf to the retelling of yesterday’s news, the fresh, frontline stuff saved for CNN superstars Bernie Shaw, John Holliman, and Peter Arnett.
It mattered not. Wolf was my guy, a late-night friend who gave solace as my daughter laid on my chest. A fellow Pole, who grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., and reported for The Jerusalem Post early in his career, Wolf just seemed more in-tune, more international. Even his name frothed of intrigue.
And so I watched as he tried to make sense of the nonsensical. Smart bombs and stealth fighters. Weapons of destruction once foreign made familiar thanks to 20 years of American desert warfare.
In the early morning hours, Wolf explained the technology and tactics. But he left the viewer to decide how and why we got into this mess, again and again. It was through Wolf that I tried to make sense of death while cradling new life, every cold, early morning of the first year of my daughter’s life.
And so, this week, I once again turned back to Wolf as America was drawn into another distant Middle East war. Like a mother’s love, CNN once again embraced me. Wolf stood front and center, rekindling our odd, but comfortable relationship made possible by two decades of inhumane acts.
My daughter is now grown. Wolf, while older, has gotten better with time, honed by 20 years of American warfare. He knows the small rationales of death. Why a no-fly zone requires bombing downtown Tripoli. Or the telltale signs of an American missile among shreds of melted metal. Sadly, he has seen it all before, reported it all before. It’s what makes Wolf so worth watching.
Still, I wished I would have gotten to know you differently, Wolf Blitzer. Somehow it just doesn’t seem fair that you, my daughter, and I should be spinning in place in wars fought time and again. Well-chronicled, but never fully explained.