December 2, 2004

Women as news anchors.

Maureen Dowd comments on the lack of female news anchors.
I know that women have surpassed men, in many respects, by embracing their femininity and frivolity. Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer, who mix news with dish, cooking and fashion in the morning, are the real breadwinners of their news divisions, generating more ratings and revenue than the cookie-cutter men of the night.

Yet, as Mr. Ailes says, "network anchoring is still Mount Olympus." I checked around for feminist outrage, but couldn't find any. Women told me the nightly news was an anachronism, so why shouldn't the anchor be? "Caring about having a woman in the showcase or figurehead role seems so 80's," one said.

Ailes's isolated quotes in this column make him sound like a jerk. (But how can a blogger complain about isolated quotes?) But it may be true that not enough people care about the mere gesture of giving the slot to a woman. People have to also want to watch the show, and they need to get the right woman or that won't work.

I can't imagine watching Katie Couric or Diane Sawyer as a nightly news anchor. These women have cultivated an appalling image. I rarely stop by those network morning shows. (If I watch morning news I flip around among the cable news stations. I'd rather have grizzled, old Don Imus on than those horrible network shows.) Both Couric and Sawyer appear insane to me. Couric with her giant Joker smile and Sawyer with her murmuring smarminess. I don't think they are insane. I think they have crafted a demeanor that reflects an opinion of the audience, which is: women are soft in the head. I see nothing feminist in wanting either of them as a nightly news anchor.

Elsewhere in today's Times is this story about Court TV anchor Nancy Grace.
Nancy Grace, the delightfully irascible star of Court TV, is never short on opinions - fiery, unabashedly blunt opinions. Ask her about defense attorneys, and she'll offer the following: "Their job is not to seek the truth; their job is to get clients off."

She's developed a great female style: beautiful, tough, sarcastic, passionate. Has anyone on TV ever sneered so well? You want a fashion tip from Nancy?
"I put everything in my bra - money, pen, paper," Ms. Grace shared in forthright way. "Never carry anything. I learned that from being a prosecutor walking through housing projects to find witnesses."

No comments: