"I'm going braless," Huffpo's Rachel Sklar said in the cab on the way to the Sheraton. She was tucking herself into a sleek black dress. "Women sweat there!" When she had first invited me to the 28th News and Documentary Emmy Awards, this wasn't what I had in mind: learning the finer points of a lady's thermoregulation sitting in UN-caused traffic jam in Midtown. I was dreaming of Russert, Blitzer, Koppel, Wallace, Stewart, Soledad—Brian Williams! Christmas for the newscasters! Get behind me, Santa!
In the Sheraton's ballroom, the Napoleonic head of CNN, Jonathan Klein, was wearing a tux and chatting with some other old white dude. Bob Schieffer of CBS chatted with Ted Koppel, who was to receive a lifetime achievement award. An unusually and quite frankly scarily tan Mike Wallace spryly circulated from small circle to small circle. We looked for Wolf Blitzer and Brian Williams—they were both "working."
We were sitting at the press table. Because the press talk so much, we heard that it was probably someone from the Business desk that started yesterday's Times fire: "The fire was on the second floor. That's where business is. And Science and Escapes and Sports!"
Matea Gold from the LA Times was there in a smart pearl necklace. She sported a slim ivory shiny digital recorder and didn't eat dessert (chocolate mousse in a chocolate cup). Across the table, looking like a fairy godmother (because she is), was TV Week's Michelle Greppi. Onstage, Tim Russert was giving this "Lock arms, brothers and sisters" speech. He then introduced Dan Rather as "soon to be the star of his own reality TV show on Court TV with Les Moonves." So true!
Dan Rather's most notable quotable: "News matters."
We were right next to a huge television screen that flashed clips of Frontline documentaries (the series was honored) and other news reports—lots of footage of dead and dying people. How is one supposed to enjoy an already rubbery steak while having to watch Marines dying or starving Darfurians?
Then Mike Wallace won an Emmy for his interview with Iran's President Ahmadinejad and took to the stage. He put the Emmy on the ground and rambled on for about 15 minutes, speaking almost exclusively in haiku. "Me. You. This Room/Ahmadinejad./We didn't know."
Huh? What now? Soon enough he was replaced by Soledad O'Brien. She looks and speaks like a Sarah Silverman caricature of herself, drawing out the ends of words like a rabbi.
It was surely time for more white wine. But when I asked for another, the old waiter asked whether I'd like to open a tab.