And the Moral of the Story Is...

I’ve decided to try something different this week. I’ve decided to do an interactive column. Here’s how it will work: I’ll write a piece just as I do every week, except that I will leave off the last paragraph.

Actually, I’ll write the first few words of the last paragraph, and then put in a blank. Your job is to fill in the blank, which is to say, to e-mail me an ending of your own. At the beginning of next week’s column, I’ll tell you my ending.

Here we go:

PBS anchorman Jim Lehrer recently gave the commencement address at the University of Pennsylvania and said that if ABC had replaced Ted Koppel’s Nightline with CBS’s David Letterman, "no great harm" would have ensued.

He further annoyed his TV journalism colleagues by saying this: "Maybe we are moving to a time when the major commercial broadcast networks, CBS and NBC as well as ABC, get out of the news business. They go about the business of entertaining and leave informing to others."

Among those others, of course, would be Lehrer himself, who would surely be pleased about the diminished competition.

CNN anchorman Aaron Brown, who has made self-involvement an art form, continues to refine his art, both by writing commentaries that are almost painfully self-referential, and by reflecting on himself ad nauseum whenever he gives interviews.

For instance, Brown told The New York Times recently, "One of the things I remember most about [Walter] Cronkite is that he cried. That he took off his glasses and wiped a tear when J.F.K. was shot. His awe at men walking on the moon. Or that moment when he came back from Vietnam and said, ‘I have come to believe . . .’ In some ways, he was omnipotent, the voice of Dad. But in other ways he was real and not afraid to be real. And in that tiny way, I feel like his descendant."

I feel like watching Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.

CBS anchorman Dan Rather recently appeared on the Imus in the Morning radio program and told the host that Attorney General John Ashcroft "just before Sept. 11 started taking private aircraft...Well, that would indicate that somebody somewhere was getting pretty worried...Why wasn’t it shared with the public at large?"

The Justice Department reacted angrily.

"The implication here is outrageous," said a spokesperson, and indeed it is. It is also preposterous, given the fact that Ashcroft’s family continued to fly on commercial planes both before and after Sept.11, something which CBS was told, according to the Justice Department, a few days before Rather mouthed off.

Ashcroft went private because of concerns for his safety that had nothing to do with international terrorism.

In Des Moines, Iowa, WHO-TV morning news anchorwoman Bobbi Silvernail will soon be marrying plastic surgeon Ronald Bergman. The two met, according to Mike Kilen, writing in the Des Moines Register, when Bergman gave Silvernail a "boob job."

Kilen continues: "[Silvernail] had her breasts ‘augmented’ last fall and wore a tight purple shirt as proof. She says she’s wanted bigger ones since she was 16."

Bergman is 53 years old. Silvernail is 28. And, she says with a laugh, "By marrying a plastic surgeon, I can stay 28 forever."

The moral of the column is as follows: ________________________.

Eric Burns is the host of Fox News Watch which airs Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT and Sundays at 1:30 a.m. ET/10:30 p.m. PT, 6:30 a.m. ET/3:30 a.m. PT, and 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT .

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