Why Do the Tea Leaves Still Say Diane Sawyer Will Be Put Under Scrutiny That No Man Has To Endure?

September 4, 2009

Whether you watch them or not– and their audiences are dwindling, yet still a potent force — the anchors of the network news broadcasts are among the most powerful people on the global stage, able to snag an interview with the president or just about any other newsworthy personage and jet into world trouble spots and history-making events, backed by the full resources of their respective news organizations.

It seems only fitting that in the wake of the passing of one of the greatest anchors of our time, Walter Cronkite, that there is a rare shake-up in the three coveted chairs that historically have been occupied for years and even decades at a time.

With Charlie Gibson passing his “World News” throne on to ABC’s Diane Sawyer at the beginning of 2010, we will enter a new era of network news royalty–with two of the three seats being held by women for the first time in history.

Remember a few years back when Dan Rather was dragged kicking and screaming, which he still is, from the “CBS Evening News” desk and Katie Couric took over? Under an intense spotlight, the perennially perky (and yes, she rightfully hated that word) television veteran tried to redefine the genre of the tradition-bound evening news broadcast, with little success. Not to mention the scrutiny of her hair, clothing and makeup that just wasn’t part of the equation when Brian Williams smoothly assumed the “NBC Nightly News” desk from long-time popular anchor Tom Brokaw.

Gibson inherited his mantle following a rocky, tragic period at ABC, after Peter Jennings died and then his successor, co-anchor Bob Woodruff was seriously injured in Iraq. He’s done an estimable job, bringing in his newscast at number two, after top-rated NBC.

Yet the rumbling currents of criticism are already being directed at Sawyer, who’s done some very softball interviews and puff pieces during her long and successful tenure at “Good Morning America”– as well as hard-hitting broadcast journalism.

She’s a tough cookie and a classy woman, although I’ve never gotten the part where she willingly worked as an aide to the most reviled president in modern history, Richard Nixon, before she made a major career change and became the media doyenne she is today.

But the tea leaves read that Sawyer’s hairstyle, hair color, lipstick, weight and wardrobe will be as much as part of the discussion as her journalistic credentials. Aside from Couric’s elevation, it’s been more than 25 years since the last female network news anchor, Jessica Savitch, made headlines for helming a network newscast (and she only held the weekend slot on NBC before her untimely death in a traffic accident).

Shamefully, much of the discourse about women in broadcasting has not evolved much beyond the superficial since then.#

13 Comment

  1. Hogwash–it’s the women writers who seem the most interested in discussing Diane Sawyer’s appearance. This defensive and ill-informed piece shouldn’t have even been posted–it’s more whining about nothing. Move on.

  2. This is Diane Sawyer! Her individual credentials, including her “look,” are well established, so what’s the question about her? And, for what it’s worth,I suspect the chief “appearance police” — if there are any — will be women, not men.

  3. Please… I’ve never heard one “real” person say a thing about Katie’s hair or make-up. I’ve only heard such allegations by media types. Also, men aren’t allowed to change their hair or wear anything other than a suit so it would be tough to comapare them the same way you say women are compared. Katie is terrible and should be replaced by Maggie Rodriguez

  4. ABC News annointing Ms. Sawyer as the Anchor is really not a big deal. In my opinion they are trading one “mature” personality for another.
    At 63 years of age and definitely in the twilight of her career, is ABC just playing it safe for a couple of more years by offering more of the same with Ms. Sawyer who will undoubtedly kick Ms. Couric’s petite behind in the ratings?
    To me, this is not really news but a continuation of Mr. Westin being afraid to tell Ms. Saywer, “NO.” So much for “re-inventing” the evening news.

  5. Maggie Rodriguez? Now THERE is a celebrity news name.

  6. “Tea leaves?” Break out your Ouija board. The reason Sawyer will not be put under any scrutiny is because no one under 60 watches or cares about ABC’s or any network news and most of her potential new viewers have never heard of her. If anyone cared any more, Katie would’ve been gone years ago.

  7. Totally disagree. Sawyer has decent credentials and will quickly be accepted. Couric lacked even general knowledge of the world around here and deserved the criticism. I rolled my eyes on her morning show when she was surprised and stunned the most well-known facts. To be fair, I don’t watch the CBS news since the few visits when it seemed to focus on cute babies and kittens. Oh, wait. Sorry, I see this column was dated 1976; probably relevant then.

  8. I noticed that everyone making a comment seems to be male. So as a woman, let me just say that I don’t like Diane Sawyer because she’s obviously biased toward Republicans. Her dad was a Republican politician from Kentucky. You don’t get much more right wing than that. Plus she treated Greg Craig with such utter disrespect during the Elian Ganzolez debacle that I haven’t watched her since and never will!

  9. These people are scrutinized the way you describe because they like it that way and people like you will do it for them.
    As far as D.S or K.C. go, I could care less what they have to say. They’re both haughty, too-smart-for-their-breeches, and assume what they think is what America thinks…and they are all too often wrong.
    We squawk about the feminization of the American male…here you have two of the reasons why this might be happening. They see the world differently and their stories reflect that distorted view.
    Anyone who has to sit to perform certain bodily functions sees the world differently. That doesn’t make that view wrong, particularly, but it does make it different.
    And it does NOT make those views automatically right.
    As these two so often prove for us.

  10. These people are scrutinized the way you describe because they like it that way and people like you will do it for them.
    As far as D.S or K.C. go, I could care less what they have to say. They’re both haughty, too-smart-for-their-breeches, and assume what they think is what America thinks…and they are all too often wrong.
    We squawk about the feminization of the American male…here you have two of the reasons why this might be happening. They see the world differently and their stories reflect that distorted view.
    Anyone who has to sit to perform certain bodily functions sees the world differently. That doesn’t make that view wrong, particularly, but it does make it different.
    And it does NOT make those views automatically right.
    As these two so often prove for us.

  11. Are you cock-eyed or what. What planet do you live on? Diane Sawyer made herself the one-woman Barack Hussein Obama cheerleading squad not a year ago. And her views and comments are NOT from the right at all.
    You either wear very dark glasses with blinders on the side, or you are so way-far to the left you’re nearly off the edge. I don’t know which…

  12. Are you cock-eyed or what? What planet do you live on? Diane Sawyer made herself the one-woman Barack Hussein Obama cheerleading squad not a year ago. And her views and comments on almost any other subject re NOT from the right at all, clearly not Republican.
    You either wear very dark glasses with blinders on the side, or you are so way-far to the left you’re nearly off the edge. I don’t know which…

  13. I hardly comment, but I comment when I have one to say. It is generally triggered by the fire within the posting I study. I can see now it is flaming sufficient for me to comment:) .anyway thank you. I understand great deal of fantastic posts close to here.

Your Commment

Email (will not be published)