Women of the news unite


Watching CBS News This Morning on Monday, December 4, Norah O’Connell and Gayle King were joined for the week by frequent contributor Bianna Golodryga, who was the chief reporter in the announcement of the suspension, and later firing, of that program’s Charlie Rose in November 2017, and also detailed the firing a week later of NBC’s TODAY show anchor Matt Lauer. Both men subsequently apologized for sexually inappropriate behavior.

The first story on the 4 December news was about the Mueller probe into Russian interference in US politics, as reported by Margaret Brennan, who shares the White House beat with chief White House correspondent Major Garrett. Then justice correspondent Paula Reid reported on a guy removed from that investigation.

Chief Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes spoke about the tax bill the Senate passed, with reporter Juliana Goldman noting what was necessary to be reconciled between the House and Senate versions. Business analyst Jill Schlesinger broke down the possible impact of the legislation.

Jericka Duncan reported on the possible CVS/Aetna merger. After the local news break, Meg Oliver talked about the return of a runaway teen to her family.

There wasn’t a single male reporter until about 40 minutes in, when Ben Tracy, foreign correspondent, described preparations in case of a war with North Korea. I’m not sure this was just a happy accident.

With the two high-visibility men brought down by complaints of sexual impropriety, I wonder if CBS News was making a statement about how capable their women on-air talent is.

CNN noticed that It’s all women this week on ‘Today’ and ‘CBS This Morning’.

I had watched The TODAY show on NBC way back in the days of Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters in the late 1960s; to Tom Brokaw and Jane Pauley, the current host of CBS News Sunday Morning; to Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric.

I didn’t quit watching until Ann Curry, promoted from being the long-time newsreader, was forced out in 2012, with what was generally understood to be the acquiescence of Lauer, who, at 20 years was the longest-serving TODAY host ever. He won’t get paid rest of $20 million contract after NBC fired him.

Curry, meanwhile, is getting a new gig on PBS. And speaking of PBS, it announced ‘Amanpour’ as interim replacement for Charlie Rose on its late night schedule, Christiane Amanpour’s existing program on CNN International.

Who might replace Lauer on TODAY’s first two hours? It’s unlikely to be Megyn Kell, now on the show’s third hour, who came over from FOX News, another network rocked by a sexual harassment scandal against former host Bill O’Reilly, and earlier, the former Fox News chairman, the late Roger Ailes.

It is likely that model of older, established male and younger, generally pretty, female co-host is going to get shaken up on the morning news programs. Of course, some folks will complain about the “feminiazation” of the time slot, which early on was, with the exception of the “weather girl”, “men’s work.”

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The Lydster, Part 127: Watching the news

NEWSFor her first nine years, I sheltered the Daughter from watching the evening news, viewing it after she went to bed, or before she got up in the morning. Sometimes, I’d watch it while she was in the other room.

Turns out that she is preternaturally interested in these things. Moreover, she develops opinions about them that did not necessarily come from us. Ferguson, MO made her aware that it’s a little scarier being a black child in America than she previously thought. The death of Palestinian children during the conflict with Israel made her angry. And she has great antipathy for Russia’s Putin.

Sometimes, she shows off her knowledge. Continue reading

Fair and balanced news

NewsMusing on what passes for news these days, I was taken by this story: The distorting reality of ‘false balance’ in the media. It’s saying, essentially, that if you have two people on the news debating whether the Earth is round or flat, you unnecessarily elevate the flat earth argument to be equivalent.

I haven’t written much about either the awful shootdown of Malaysian flight or the Israel-Gaza war, other than I found it depressing as all get out. (What does “depressing as all get out” mean? Continue reading

“The plane is missing. We still don’t know where it is. We’ll update you when we do.”

malaysia-airlinesMy daughter, who’s almost 10, was watching the news with me the other day when the story about the missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370 came on. She is a compassionate person. Yet she winced, “Oh, no, not again.” She hasn’t done that with stories about GM recalls, or other multi-day stories.

Maybe it’s because the news outlets feel an obligation to cover it, but, far too often, they really don’t have a heck of a lot to SAY. Continue reading

The Kitty Genovese narrative largely debunked

kitty_genoveseIf you were old enough – and I was – the name of Kitty Genovese was a name you knew. Not just that she was a murder victim in Queens, NYC, stabbed to death on March 13, 1964, “one of six hundred and thirty-six murders in New York City that year,” but that the apparent indifference to her plight by over three dozen “witnesses” spoke volumes about the apathetic nature of a segment of American life:

…the gist of the [New York Times] piece lent itself perfectly to Sunday sermons about a malaise encompassing all of us. Continue reading

January Rambling: looking for good news

attemptedmurder Arthur’s article Why we think the news is worse than it is. This led to a thread that I wrote about finding good news amongst the bad which are here and here and here.

People I know personally, at least one an artist, seemed really irritated that a Norman Rockwell painting fetched a record price last month. This antipathy seemed to be tied to the notion of Rockwell as artistic pablum. Another view of the artist Continue reading

300: teenage wasteland

If you live around the Albany area, you probably know the story, but for the rest of you: former National Football League player Brian Holloway’s home in Stephentown, rural Rensselaer County, was broken into by about 300 kids and used as a party house on August 31, 2013. Holloway was in Florida at the time and these kids trashed the place, with graffiti on the walls and the like.

Holloway started some organization and website called Help Me Save 300, where he explained what happened, and most notably, posted the tweets and photos that the teens themselves posted AT THE TIME of their activity. Continue reading

ARA: Influences and historical conversations

Dear Lisa says Okay, I’ll play:
Who (living or dead) has had the most influence on your life?

I’d have to say my father. He turned me on to music, which was always in the house. He had a thing for social justice. His moodiness was something I tried to avoid in myself, not always successfully. He could be an unfocused dreamer, something I can be guilty of as well.

If you could go back in time and have a conversation with someone, who would it be? Continue reading

Equality, rape culture, and the war on women

I’ve been think about the rights of women a LOT lately. There are so many examples of what’s wrong – and to be sure a couple that are right – that it’s overwhelmed me. (And it’s taken at least a couple weeks to write this piece.)

In New York State, “The Women’s Equality Agenda will safeguard women’s health, extend protections against sexual harassment in the workplace, help to achieve pay equity, and increase protections against discrimination in employment, housing, credit and lending.” Sounds wonderful, of course. The big hangup for some is over abortion rights, a huge issue.

But I think the conversation about whether there is a “war on women” had been framed too much on abortion and birth control – sometimes reframed by the talking heads, to be sure.

Though there does seem to be a sexual component in all of this. In his review about Fiona Apple’s song Criminal, MDS writes: “Let’s just admit something up front right now Continue reading

Not wanting to know the criminals’ names?

I’ve noticed, particularly on Facebook, that after some particularly grievous, horrific crime – the Boston Marathon bombing, the Sandy Hook, CT elementary school shootings, the Aurora, CO movie theater shootings – there is this contingent of folks who argue that we ought not mention the names of the accused, but should instead focus solely on the victims. It’s as though by not saying the names of the perpetrators, or alleged ones, it would deny them the fame they presumably wanted; this phenomenon exists even when the presumed criminal is already dead Continue reading