Matt Towery

But throughout that historic race, those seated beside her on the air or talking to her in the halls of her station (WSB's massive complex seems more the size of CNN than a local affiliate) never really knew what Pearson thought about the potentially first African-American president. Her comments and questions on air and off were always to the point, but never showed the slightest hint of where her heart might be or what she might personally be thinking. To this day, likely no one but her husband, a respected former law-enforcement officer, knows how she voted in the Obama-McCain contest.

It must be so very tempting when one has an overwhelming charismatic impact on, and an equally strong trust of, a huge viewership not to let fly a comment here or a glance there that gives a signal to those watching as to what they should do or how they should think. We know that Chris Matthews' leg tingled when Barack Obama was elected, and we have learned over the years that even our beloved "Uncle Walter" Cronkite meddled in the 1968 presidential race, urging Bobby Kennedy to take on Lyndon Johnson.

And it would seem oh-so-ripe for the nation's first African-American female anchor to not only use, but even abuse, her position of not only local but national prominence. After all, she had the star power to, and did, interview virtually every politician (save Nancy Pelosi, who blew Pearson off), movie star, recording artist ... you name it ... in the world, for decades. But she never carried an agenda, or gave off any signal of "on-air activism." There was nothing but shear professionalism that came from this amazing woman.

Oh, yes, no matter where you live in this nation, you need to know about the "Other Oprah." She brought honor and credibility to a profession that so badly needs it.

(Note: This column is dedicated to Robin Roberts of ABC News, who is facing another serious health issue. Monica Pearson was a major inspiration to Robin. We wish Robin a speedy recovery.)


Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a former National Republican legislator of the year and author of Powerchicks: How Women Will Dominate America.
 
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