The Not-Very-Convincing Case Against Christiane Amanpour


In critiquing the choice of Christiane Amanpour as the new host of This Week, the Washington Post‘s TV critic, Tom Shales, puts it rather baldly: “Many others deserve it more than she does.”

Oh really. Why does Shales find Amanpour lacking?

In a way, Amanpour, scheduled to leave CNN after 18 years of international coverage and take over the program in August, could be seen as the opposite of the perfect candidate. “This Week” deals mainly in domestic politics and inside-the-Beltway palaver, an area where Amanpour is widely considered to deficient. Consider: Whenever CNN has thrown one of its big election-night, convention, or presidential debate spectaculars, drafting nearly every living staff member to appear, Amanpour has had a conspicuously low profile.

Uh, could it be because she was often overseas, away from the Beltway clusterfuck? Or because she wasn’t interested in issuing “palaver” on a beat she didn’t cover? None of that means that she can’t switch beats, as reporters so often do.

But Shales isn’t done poking holes in Amanpour’s credentials — he isn’t satisfied by her vaunted foreign-reporting skills, either. His proof of her ineptitude:

Supporters of Israel have more than once charged Amanpour with bias against that country and its policies. A Web site devoted to criticism of Amanpour is titled, with less than a modicum of subtlety, “Christiane Amanpour’s Outright Bias Against Israel Must Stop,” available via Facebook.

That is the sole evidence Shales offers for this particular “bias” of Amanpour’s. Of course, Danny Shea of The Huffington Post points out that the Facebook group in question has only 63 members. Not only can anyone who has ever used Facebook testify that you can get 63 people to join a group about just about anything, as Jezebel’s de facto Israel correspondent I can personally vouch that if only 63 people have chimed in to call you anti-Israel, you may as well head AIPAC.

So who are the “many others” who deserved the job more than Amanpour? Shales names White House correspondent (and Andy Bernard doppelganger) Jake Tapper, as well as Nightline co-anchor Terry Moran. But really, these quintessential DC insiders hardly need Shales to have their backs. And, in case you hadn’t noticed, they also happen to be white dudes. In the absence of actual evidence against the selection of Amanpour, a rare surprise in the stolid world of TV talk who could just be a breath of fresh air in the musty capital, this article seems unusually sour. Alas, Shales sounds like a privileged, middle-aged white guy protecting the old order, resenting a woman — not to mention, in the U.S., an ethnic minority — getting what he clearly thinks is a man’s job.

ABC’s Choice Of Amanpour For ‘This Week’ Has Critics Inside The Network And Beyond [WP]
Tom Shales Viciously Reviews Christiane Amanpour [HP]

Earlier: Christiane Amanpour To Host This Week

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