I confess - I've always had a soft spot for Aaron Brown. He was well known by Minnesotans like me. As a former native of Minnesota, Hopkins to be exact, we were comfortable with him. His reporting during the activity of 9/11 was pretty remarkable in its empathetic coolness. He was reassuring.
That's why, when I read today's Star Trib, I was delighted to catch up with what he was doing. Not only delighted, but reassured that he had not changed. All it took was this:
Q What kind of documentary would you like to do?
A I'd cover five kids back from Iraq and spend six months with them as they try to re-acclimate to civilian life. I would try to connect their injuries to certain decisions they made before going over. Whether or not the war was right, I know those kids were sent in without the kind of gear that would have saved lives and limbs.
It's that down-to-earth, matter-of-factness, that really appeals to me.
He echoed what we were feeling as we watched CNN that day:
CNN's Aaron Brown described incredulously what he saw as the second World Trade Tower fell in front of him, "Good Lord," he said, "there are no words."
He looks and reads as if he is relaxed and happy with his new life. I still wonder though if moments like these were forced upon him:
Aaron Brown closes our sample just before the CNN News at 10 in MCU looking directly to camera. He says, "The President as you know, laid out his case against Iraq. To our ears he was like a prosecutor closing a murder case. His tone was low key, his words stern -- Saddam a murderous tyrant, a homicidal dictator addicted to weapons of mass destruction." By the time Aaron reaches his last sentence, a subtle switch has occurred. The close-up shot size, his direct gaze into the lens, his use of the phrase "to our ears" in an earlier sentence, his particular inflection and tone, combine to transfer these thoughts as Aaron Brown's own on Saddam Hussein. He's no longer simply reporting the President's views. This has implications for the viewer who is more likely to identify with Aaron Brown than directly with the President.
And that maybe the manipulative choreography at CNN was something he wanted to live without and was embarassed by. I have a sneaking suspicion that come 2007 we will hear more from him. The end of 2007 brings the end of his CNN contract and probably begins a new personal moment of freedom.
Good to hear from you Aaron, I'm very pleased that you will have your contractual gag lifted prior to 2008. Should be interesting to hear what you have to say!