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Written by Richard Griffin   
Thursday, August 15 2013 15:14

He described himself as “a fat, bald guy who looked unkempt even in a freshly pressed suit and a Brooks Brothers shirt.”

That was Jack Germond whose obit I read in today’s Times.  This memorable newspaperman was born the same year as I - 1928.  Seeing an age peer may   have been one of the draws that brought me to watch Jack on “The McLaughlin Group.”

Despite his fifteen year tenure on the show Germond labeled it as “really bad TV.” Finding an alibi for sticking with the show for so long he said it enabled   him to pay his daughter’s medical school tuition.  I identify with someone who can come up with that good an excuse for taking part in schlock.

Besides liking Germond, I had another reason for sometimes tuning into the show.  John McLaughlin is someone I was acquainted with long before he      became a television host.  Like me, he was a member of the New England Province of the Jesuits.  Along with almost three hundred other men we lived in the  1950s at the then Weston College, the Jesuit house of philosophical and theological studies. 

Besides eating, one of the activities of those men close to ordination used to be taking turns in delivering practice sermons during dinner. I still remember   the inflated character of John’s presentations.  My colleagues and I considered him well on the way to becoming a talented blowhard. But we did not                       foresee him becoming such on national television.

Later on, I had occasion to publish an article in the National Catholic Reporter blasting fellow Jesuit McLaughlin for defending Nixon’s bombing of               Cambodia.  This he had done while serving in the White House as presidential assistant, a Republican reward for having run in vain for the senate from             Rhode    Island.

When Jack Germond resigned from McLaughlin’s program, he left John a note entitled “bye-bye.” That was the McLaughlin’s signature way of ending each   program.

 My sentiments are much more heartfelt in saying farewell to memorable journalist Jack Germond.