In a touching and heartfelt video posted on social media Wednesday, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek celebrated his one-year survival anniversary in his battle with stage-four pancreatic cancer. According to Trebek, what got him through the hard times was the understanding that giving up would be a betrayal to his wife, his “faith in God,” and those praying for him. Unfortunately, ABC’s World News Tonight didn’t appreciate those last two and cut off the soundbite before Trebek got there.
In the video, Trebek shared deeply personal experiences he had endured during the year, such as “sudden massive attacks of great depression that made me wonder if it was really worth fighting on.” What helped him get through those episodes were extremely inspirational:
But I brushed that aside quickly, because that would have been a massive betrayal. A betrayal of my wife and soulmate, Jean, who has given her all to help me survive. It would have been a betrayal of other cancer patients who have looked to me as an inspiration, and a cheerleader of sorts, of the value of living and hope, and it would certainly have been a betrayal of my faith in God and the millions of prayers that have been said on my behalf.
Now let’s look at how ABC anchor David Muir covered it:
MUIR: The 79-year-old talking openly about the grueling treatments, the side effects, the depression.
TREBEK: I brushed that aside quickly, because that would have been a massive betrayal. A betrayal of my wife and soulmate, Jean, who has given her all to help me survive. It would have been a betrayal of other cancer patients who have looked to me as an inspiration, and a cheerleader of sorts, of the value of living and hope.
MUIR: So many rooting for Alex, including contestants.
What made this edit particularly unfortunate, was the fact that ABC had once touted Trebek crediting prayers for helping him continue to fight.
In May of last year, Muir read a quote the gameshow host gave to People magazine. “I told the doctors, this has to be more than just chemo. I've had a couple million people out there who expressed their good thoughts, their positive energy, and their prayers. The doctors said it could very well be an important part of this,” he read to viewers.
Muir even agreed by adding: “No doubt it is.”
At that time, it was NBC Nightly News who was cutting around Trebek crediting prayer. On Wednesday, NBC and CBS completely avoided the “betrayal” part of the new video.