As WDIV broke away Thursday from a live White House pandemic briefing to start its 6 p.m. newscast, veteran anchor Devin Scillian spoke frankly and emotionally about some of what President Trump has just said.
"I'm begging you not to tolerate attacks on a lot of journalists right now who are working their tails off," Scillian told viewers in a one-minute impromptu commentary.
The newsman's impassioned cri de coeur resembled the type of dialogue Andrew Sorkin wrote for Jeff Daniels in "The Newsroom" (2012-14). See for yourself in the transcript below or watch here.
'There's a commitment . . .
to let you know what's going on'
"[The president] again included a long attack on the American journalism community right now. It's dispiriting because I'mm telling you, right now American journalists are working in insane conditions to try to bring you the latest in a situation that is unprecedented for all of us.
"I've never been prouder of the people in this building, of my colleagues at papers, at television stations and radio stations all over the country. And it's dispiriting at a time like this because you have people who really believe that there's a commitment [and are] working in crazy conditions to let you know what's going on.
"And it hasn't been easy playing air hockey with a White House that kind of moves all over the place in how it feels about this on any given day. So regardless of your support or non-support of the president, I'm begging you not to tolerate attacks on a lot of journalists right now who are working their tails off."
Co-achor Kimberly Gill then prepared to go back on script with the newscast lineup, but not before voicing her agreement. "We are putting our families at risk" by coming to the downtown Detroit station, she noted. "I've got a baby at home. . . . So certainly right."
Scillian, who joined WDIV in 1995 and rose from reporter to anchor a year later, follows up after the program on "my spur of the moment defense of my profession."
In a four-paragraph reflection at the station's site, he explains:
"At a time when the flow of solid and reliable information is critical, a White House take-down of American journalists seems out of place to me. ...
"I work every day with people who have a commitment."