Philadelphia news anchor Jim Gardner reminded viewers that the press is “not the enemy of the people” in his farewell message aired Wednesday after more than 46 years on the air. (Watch the video below.)
He humbly asked his 6ABC audience for a “final word” and launched an eloquent defense of his art.
“The American free press has been attacked, not by forces from other countries, but by elements integrated into our own society, and even our own government. This worries me deeply,” Gardner said.
After an anecdote about Thomas Jefferson’s deep belief in freedom of the press, Gardner delivered his most important message about the Fourth Estate.
“We are not the enemy of the people,” he said.
“Serving the people, you the people of the Tri-State Area, with responsible and unbiased journalism. This is our mission now and in the future,” he continued. “And if we falter, you better let us know, for your benefit and ours.”
Gardner received well-deserved applause from his colleagues as he said goodnight for the last time.
Gardner told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he once considered retiring, but the news was so interesting in recent years that he felt compelled to stay. Now, he said, he’ll be spending more time with his wife and possibly parting ways with an iconic facial feature.
“Maybe Jim Gardner is leaving, and I’ll get Jim Goldman back,” he said, referring to his real name. “It’s interesting to think about. Jim Goldman is probably going to shave his mustache, right?