Report From The Floor: Up Close And Personal With ‘Giants Of Journalism’ At GOP Convention


Left to right: Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levine, Carl Bernstein and Ted Koppel. Photo: Brian Levine.

By Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levine.

I will say, up front, that I may have broken the rules. It just seemed like a good idea at the time.

On Day 3 of the Republican National Convention, I arrived at our venue, The Quicken Loans Arena (known as “the Q”) as I had on the previous days. After going through security, I decided not to go directly into the arena, as I had arrived early and had some time before the convention started.

I made my way to a different building, where “News Row” was located. This was a large area encompassing a few floors where most of the media were housed. Since they did interviews with various people and many of the media staff were going in and out, I thought I may be able to saunter in, which I did. This may have technically been for media-related participants, but, since I had my RNC entrance credentials on a lanyard around my neck, I walked through. No questions were asked.

There were many television, radio, newspaper, cable, and Internet media at their desks and makeshift studios. Many of the TV personalities I knew by sight, but could not quite place; many others were household names, such as Dan Rather. Two giants of journalism that I saw speaking together were Carl Bernstein (who, along with Bob Woodward, wrote All the President’s Men about their Pulitzer Prize winning investigation and uncovering of Watergate, in addition to authoring numerous other books) and Ted Koppel (long time host of the ABC news show Night Line). Much as I dislike imposing, I asked if I could take a picture with them, which I did.


Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levine.

I mentioned to them casually that they were role models and superior journalists. Ted Koppel turned towards Carl Bernstein and said, “He’s a great journalist, but where is the other one?” Then they graciously told me to come over for a photo.
I told Carl Bernstein that I read most of his books (true) and they are on my bookshelf (also true) and that we should have more journalism of his caliber to expose corruption. He thanked me. I told Ted Koppel it would be great to see more objective, investigative shows like his. He asked if I actually remember it. I said, “Sure,” then delivered one of his quotes to him: “Today is day number 335 of the hostage crises.” He smiled and said, “OK.”

We then smiled for the camera.

Later on, as in past days, in the hallways of The Q, it is common to pass well known personalities in the relatively narrow corridor which surrounds the circular arena. People such as Cokie Roberts, Monica Crowley, Ben Carson, etc. are probably rushing to secluded spots or their studios, but most seemed amenable to requested selfies of various delegates.

Though the delegate reactions to speakers in The Q varied from applause and cheers to occasional boos and chanting, there was general respect and civility towards the speakers and each other. Of course, there were references to winning against the other side and to their shortcomings (in the speaker’s opinion), but, as will happen next week at the Democratic Party Convention in Philadelphia, this is in the spirit of bolstering one’s supporters. Opinions of some are strong, convictions of many are sincere, sentiments of most are genuine. I respect politicians and individuals whose opinions differ from mine if I feel it is coming from the right place in their heart, and not just to make an extra dollar or because they are afraid to say “no” to the powers that be.

Editor’s Note: Freeholder Levine is an alternate delegate for New Jersey. He will be supplying us with his observations of the Republican National Convention.

Your Thoughts


Please Support Independent Journalism In Franklin Township!

No other media outlet covering Franklin Township brings you the depth of information presented by the Franklin Reporter & Advocate. Period. We are the only truly independent media serving the Eight Villages.

But we can only do that with your support. Please consider a yearly subscription to our online news site; at $37 a year, it’s one of the best investments you can make in our community.

To subscribe, please click here.

Other News From The Eight Villages …