Thank heaven for Erin Burnett at CNBC who may yet save television news from itself. For the time being, she’s stuck in the business ghetto, but will eventually graduate to The Show. Television anchors have been going downhill since David Brinkley retired to shill for Archer Daniels Midland and Dan Rather suffered a credibility crisis after using documents that lacked authenticity in a piece about George Bush’s National Guard service.
What we’re left with is the chipper likes of Katie Couric, who can’t rescue the CBS Evening News, and Lou Dobbs, the Mr. Potato Head of prime time. I used to enjoy Dobbs on Moneyline where he interviewed CEOs and got them to say things others couldn’t. But then he learned he could mobilize public opinion by coming out against the purchase of U.S. ports by an Abu Dhabi firm and has been stoking reactionary causes ever since.
Now he sits, cantilevered with one shoulder lower than the other for dramatic purposes, a sneer on his lips, egging on guests by asking questions that contain the very answer he seeks: “Don’t you think all those illegal aliens should be rounded up tonight and trucked back home?”
Pomposity has also puffed up Matt Frei, BBC World’s presenter in Washington. He began his duties ably enough, but now treats field reporters with disdain, calls female colleagues by their first names (but not their male counterparts), and generally seems to strut even while seated.
As for Canadian anchors, CBC’s Peter Mansbridge is fine. It’s just that I can’t stomach Keith Boag’s Ottawa reports. Boag usually comes up early in the show speaking inanities that could emanate from Omemee for all the insight they contain. Only CTV’s Lloyd Robertson gargles along as always. Pity poor Tom Clark. He’s been waiting in the wings for as long as Prince Charles.