Christiane Amanpour: Too Brunette, Persian For TV?
There is some controversy over Christiane Amanpour taking over ABC's This Week. Longtime Washington Post critic Tom Shales, for example, is upset that she hates Israel and has bad hair.
Now, normally, there's nothing wrong with Tom Shales. He's become a kind of boring TV critic, and being merely "kind of boring" instead of "actively terrible" at the Washington Post is actually doing pretty well for yourself. His SNL book was great and I am looking forward to his ESPN book.
But it is increasingly apparent that he brokers no dissent in television figures when it comes to the subject of Israel, and he also has a really nasty tendency to suspect non-Jews with family ties to the Middle East of bias. Like, did you know that Helen Thomas is criticizes Israel because her parents were Syrian immigrants (like three hundred years ago)? And Amanpour—certainly sounds French, but she's actually half-Persian.
This is over the line, really. Amanpour is anti-Israel because 60 people joined a Facebook group and she's from (pre-Islamic Revolution) Iran? Ugh.
And then Tom made some sexist cracks in his livechat today.
During his Washington Post chat today about his column, Shales called Amanpour "one of the most over-rated and hyped personalities of our day" and then added: "neither you nor I has stooped to mentioning that hair of hers — yipe. What's the deal with that, as David Letterman might say." He also wondered whether ABC will "try to turn Amanpour into Little ms Politics."
I... I don't know what is up with her hair. It seems pretty normal to me? Besides, you know, not being blonde. To say "ooh that hair" is mildly chauvinistic, but it's also just the sort of thing people say about people on TV, male or female. (No one ever thought Sam Donaldson's hair disqualified him from being taken seriously, but they did indeed make a lot of fun of it.)
But yes, "Little Ms. Politics" is pretty gross. (It also sounds like a title that a lady Fox correspondent would happily accept.)
And Glenn Greenwald makes the obvious point that no one serious (like, newspaper critic-level, not nutty blogger-level) ever really talks about the Jewishness of Wolf Blitzer or David Gregory and wonders whether or not that affects their objectivity. (Nor does anyone mention that former AIPAC employee Blitzer is also a complete moron. Seriously, there are not thoughts in his head. He just emits sounds. He is a professional sound-maker.)
I, for one, think Amanpour-to-This Week might be a dumb idea and a shame because we're taking one of our very few television celebrities who does anything to educate television-watching Americans about foreign affairs and sentencing her to a career of eliciting canned responses from the same idiot elected officials. Seems like a waste of her experience and expertise. But she's earned a rest from real journalism and CNN is an identity-less third-place joke, so ABC might be good for her.
Still: a prominent 52-year-old half-Persian woman is being subject to attacks based on her sex and ethnicity! Color us shocked! Time to watch Megyn Kelly explain some poll she read that told her 99% of voters spontaneously weep when they even think of Obamacare .