When Pampered News Anchors Venture in to the War Zone

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 Within the past couple of weeks, several network news anchors experienced a collective brain cramp and decided it would be wise  – and good for ratings – to catch a flight to Cairo and set up their microphones amid Egypt’s current, and very violent, revolutionary chaos.

Katie Couric, Brian Williams, and far too many other high-profile TV news personalities made the trip, mistaking themselves for the hard-boiled, unshaven, wartime field correspondents who have historically risked their lives to cover the World Wars, as well as the wars in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan. Such a vocation requires a certain type of animal.  A perky, desperate-for-ratings Katie, as well as NBC’s Brian Williams (featured recently in some insipid women’s magazine, engaging oh-so-urgently in the heated controversy of pleats versus plain in men’s slacks), are not those animals.

We all recognize the true die-hard field reporter when we see one – and we have seen plenty of them in recent years, thanks to those reporters who were embedded with our troops in the early days of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.  Fox’s Rick Leventhal quickly emerged as my personal favorite, transforming almost overnight into one of those hard-boiled field reporters, who might just as well have been posting stories from Normandy Beach in June, 1944.  Rick’s respect and reverence for those with whom he was embedded was undeniable, reflected in the meat and nature of his reporting.  Even now, when I see him reporting stateside from the White House or similar venue, I get the feeling he would trade the jacket and tie for a flak jacket, helmet and sunburn in a heartbeat.

As for Katie and Brian and their more soft-boiled brethren, those who have been rioting, pillaging, overthrowing, and destroying Egypt’s ancient national treasures in Cairo, have not been at all impressed by the network pampered pets who swept into town with their cameras, microphones, makeup teams and personal assistants.  The reports of injured news personalities emerging from the chaos have not only been staggering in number, but devastating in nature, featuring abductions, head injuries and threats of beheading.

The experience has surely served as a profound wake-up call to television “journalists” forced to realize that terrorists and their ilk are not just misunderstood activists, and that they themselves are talented teleprompter readers, not field reporters (the latter of whom know the story isn’t about them, the former holding the opposite opinion).  Most of the pampered pets have since come running home – fortunately before we had to send our troops in to risk their lives to rescue them.

One Comment

  1. tom harlin
    Posted February 11, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    You forgot another one who had no business being there: Anderson Cooper. Expect the announcement of a book deal any day now.