From: Long, Robert (NBC Universal, KNBC)
Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 11:18 AM
Subject: Last Writethru
BURBANK (AP) — Los Angeles newsman Robert Long today announced his retirement from KNBC. A station spokesman, who would give her name only as “Trixie”, said that KNBC staffers were sorry to see Long go, but they’d get over it. The man some called “The General” because of his remarkable resemblance to Marine Corps hero “Chesty” Puller, is thought to have begun his career in journalism at the age of 14 over shots and beer in a Washington, D. C. saloon. Archives of The Washington Post (in the 1950s cities had information distribution systems called “newspapers”) show that Fidel Castro was in town to meet with President Eisenhower and try to establish normal relations with the U. S. Legend has it that Castro dispatched one of his lieutenants to round up some women for a discussion of Marxist metrics that evening at the embassy, and ran into Long over brewskies. Long allegedly told the “barbudo” what he knew about finding women and out of sympathy for the youngster’s bizarre notions on the subject, the freedom fighter invited Long to hang with Castro and the boys and learn a thing or two. Thus, folklore has it, began the long career of a man investigative journalist and longtime Long associate Frank Snepp described as “Zelig with a gun”.
“He was always around the ball but no one knew what position he played or what team he was on,” Snepp said. “First there was the Castro thing, then a meeting with Khrushchev. He was at Time Magazine when Kennedy was murdered and showed up at Yale with George Bush. In the thick of things in Vietnam, he was an advisor to a Marine general who was killed in action. Then he shows up in the Congo with Mobutu and in Beirut during the civil war. It goes on and on. The guy’s a freak.”
Ed Asner and Bill Shatner held a joint newsconference shortly after word of Long’s retirement leaked out. “We made a good living portraying this guy on TV,” Shatner said. Asner added, “I’m probably too old to play him again, but MTM and I have talked about a reprise of some of his best newsroom stuff. She’s never forgotten working for him at CBS.” Reached at his forward command post, Camp Barsac, Long said, “You’ve got to filter all that through a good martini. A grenade went off near Frank’s head in Saigon, Asner’s a commie, and Shatner never got over my working with Nimoy.” Asked if he was leaving KNBC because he was too “Old Corps” to handle new technologies and the rise of “citizen journalism”, Long hurled his Zippo at the questioner’s head and snorted, “No one has ever accused me of giving a damn what people think. If I wanted their opinion, I’d give it to them. That’s what real journalists do. As for that Israeli Rosetta Stone of an operating system, I can make it do barrel rolls. I’m leaving because I’m turning 65, you moron. It took me weeks to figure out how to enroll in Medicare and that was a sign. I could sit around channeling Jerry Dunphy or go to Istanbul to teach at a private university and fish for Turkish trout in the Atlas Mountains. It’s a no-brainer.” “All I can say about that,” Snepp said, “is watch the Middle East. Long thinks he’s some kind of Jedi and he’s on a mission. Let’s pray the Turkish power companies aren’t into wind farms.”