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In light of the recent Dodge “God Made a Farmer” ad during the Superbowl that featured Paul Harvey, some friends have suggested I write a little about my experience working with the legendary radio broadcaster. I have always been hesitant to put down a ‘permanent’ record about my time with Mr. Harvey. The stories I tell people close to me, while generally funny and harmless, could alter the way one views him. I would never want to take away from the respect he earned throughout his brilliant career. So instead, here’s a small tribute about how I see my old boss (yeah, the title and form might be a little cheesy, but the sentiment is not).
If God Made a Newsman
If God made a newsman He would give him a voice…a double-edged sword. One side would be rich and pleasing to the ears, a light touch in an often somber business. The other would be authoritative and stern, so you’d know he meant business. Immediately identifiable, his voice would resonate beyond our ears, deep into our hearts and souls, making us take stock of this world. If God made a newsman, his voice would move us: to listen, to learn, to laugh or even cry, to think and wonder and hope and dream. And of course it would dare us to act.
If God made a newsman He’d give him a child’s spirit: curious and hungry for knowledge…and experience. No stone would be left unturned if God made a newsman. Fearless – and sometimes reckless – he’d wrestle with things about which he knew little, until he learned them inside and out. That’s how a child learns. He explores and consumes, digests and contests, processes and accepts until he’s made sense of it all.
And if God made a newsman, He’d couple that curiosity with a razor-sharp intellect. An historian and a seer would God’s newsman be. He would study the past and he would never forget. He’d apply proven knowledge to new plots and schemes and he’d share his conclusions so you could see, too.
If God made a newsman, he’d be a chameleon. Slipping in and out of social spheres and economic tiers, he would put his finger on the pulse of our world. He would find common ground and, like a cowboy, herd us toward the lush lea of equanimity where we might finally learn how to get along. He’d be just as comfortable in boots and a denim shirt as he would in a suit and tie. After all, when it comes time to knuckle down, every shirtsleeve rolls up the same.
If God made a newsman, he’d be salt-of-the-earth. But he’d have a pinch of pepper, too. Tenacity and toughness mixed with the bite of wit. His words just might make your blood boil, your heart race, and your color rise so that all of a sudden, you’re in a sweat. But God’s newsman knows that a good sweat can purify and cleanse.
And if God made a newsman He’d temper that fire with a sense of humor. News is all at once contentious, divisive, doom and gloom, bust and boom. Sometimes we need a little chuckle, a good belly laugh or even a straight guffaw to break things up. If God made a newsman he’d see the funny side of us and help us see it, too. He’d understand that no one can take himself so darn seriously all of the time.
Well, good news Americans…God did make a newsman…and his name was Paul Harvey.