Barbara Walters has promised to retire. But then so did that lip-licking lizard, Larry King. You can’t take them at their word.
In my journalism-school days one looked up to the brilliant and brave late Oriana Fallaci. Now, it’s mediocrities like colorectal crusader Katie Couric and Barbara Walters who’re considered cutting-edge clever. And they’ve sired a new crop of cretins. Can you believe that talking coifs such as Brook Baldwin and Erin Burnett of CNN are regularly asked to address university graduates? There is NOTHING these people can say that can edify or enlighten. Nothing. They are walking cliches. The same goes for the Fox News crop, with some exceptions (Gerri Willis, Elizabeth MacDonald, Melissa Francis).
As the author of America’s “Most Fascinating People List,” Barbara Walters had redefined the concept of “fascinating.” The detritus of humanity paraded by the reality TV racket is where the boorish broadcaster turned for “fascinating” figures. She was thus an integral cog in a coarsening culture. Some of her past picks for the List included Paris Hilton, Victoria and David Beckham, Kim Kardashian and Justin Timberlake.
All Walters’ interviews make the flesh crawl. Paris Hilton’s porn debut, in which the woman made narcissistic love to the camera, (i.e. herself) was transformed by Walters’ syrupy “journalism” into a PG-rated tale of innocence betrayed.
And the Walters empathic posturing concealed a good deal of cattiness, even cruelty. Her idea of getting to the guts of a story: Bringing a supremely vulnerable celebrity to tears. The wicked Walters once prefaced an interview with singer Celine Dion by pronouncing, “You are not beautiful.” She then watched gleefully as tears welled in Dion’s beautiful eyes.
The only person to rival such bitchiness is sly Katie Couric. She once interviewed Hillary Clinton while drunk with love for Obama. Couric’s below-the-belt barbs and blithe probes about Obama—but not the issues—made Hillary appear elevated by comparison. Clinton was courteous where Katie was cruel. “Someone told me your nickname in school was Miss Frigidaire. Is that true?” Couric asked. “Only with some boys,” Clinton said, laughing. The answer was quick and classy.
Good newsmen are a dying breed. Good newswomen are mostly dead already. By the time she died, Oriana Fallaci had long since been buried professionally by mediocrities like Barbara Walters. For her contempt of Islam, Fallaci was forced to flee her native Italy. She came to America, where, needless to say, she did not make it onto Barbara’s List or as a “CNN Heroes” nominee.