that I discovered that reporters get PTSD, reporters get depressed. And I had a terrific counselor who helped me appreciate what I was going through and gave me tools to help me cope with not only 911 but everything else that came after. I went to Afghanistan 10 times. I went to Iraq 26 times, South Sudan, and now Ukraine. You cannot let those things pile up. Whitaker: I’ve seen all the horrible things in the world: massacres and natural disasters. You name it, I’ve seen it. But I’ve also seen the other side, where, after disas- ter, there’s an outpouring of people wanting to help, people stepping up to embrace the folks who have gone through hell. In a whole area, they all had nothing. And they put their nothing together to help each other. That’s as big a part of the story as the devastation. Alfonsi: There’s that famous Mister Rogers quote— “Look for the helpers”—right? When things are scary, I say to my kids, “Look for the helpers.” Whether it’s the war in Ukraine or the pandemic or whatever the situ- ation, I try to look for that because you’re looking for hope, you’re looking for connection.
Pelley: Bill [Owens] and I went into Iraq with the inva- sion force in 2003 unembedded. We were in a firefight with Marines fighting some Iraqi forces, and a shell comes from the Iraqi side and explodes right over our heads. Shelling is a classic disbursement method for chemical weapons. At that time we believed that they had chemical weapons. So the Marines yell, “Gas! Gas! Gas!” And they put on their gas masks. I reach to grab mine. I’d left it in the truck. The truck is 100 yards away. I actually thought, So this is the last mistake I’m going to make . I look around completely powerless. And out of the corner of my eye, I see Bill running toward me with my mask in his hand. That tells you everything you need to know about Bill. He has intellectual courage in the screening room to ask every hard question and hold all of us to the fire. In addition, he has the physi- cal courage. He has been there. The Boss Asked if he recalled his first day at CBS, Owens promised a “maybe better—even cuter—story.” Promise kept. Owens: I was basically hired as an intern for the Republican and Democratic conventions in 1988, and I was assigned to the newsroom trailer. Got there early, and I opened the door and Bob Schieffer was sitting at the news desk with the assignment editor and deputy assignment editor. Bob always had his feet up on a desk and a pencil in his mouth. And I was frozen in the doorway. I thought, I shouldn’t be here. Bob Schief- fer is in this office. I’ve watched Bob Schieffer my whole life. And one of the editors looked at me and said, “Are you Owens?” “Yes … sir.” “OK, come over here. We got a coffee order for you, and then you’re going to clean out the wire machine.” I couldn’t believe that I was going to be in the same room with Bob Schieffer and the other reporters who came walking through. I really couldn’t believe it. What would Morley, Ed, and Mike say? Owens: The three of them would have a different response. Morley would say, “Way to go, kiddo.” Ed would wink. Mike would say, “Well, let’s see how you do next week. This was pretty good.”
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER • 2022
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