NBC's Ann Curry Fought With Navy Dad on Vietnam; Oozes We're 'Evolving' in Compassion

NBC Today co-anchor Ann Curry is the cover story of the September issue of Ladies Home Journal and discussed how she fought with her U.S. naval officer father about the Vietnam War, (unsurprisingly) taking the liberal, Walter Cronkite-inspired anti-war position:

"When I was a teenager," she says, "Dad and I would have dinner table debates about the Vietnam War. I was deeply affected by Walter Cronkite's reports, and I questioned our country's role. Sometimes our discussions got so heated my siblings would leave the table. At the end of those conversations my dad would say, 'I don't always agree with you, but I'd still vote for you for president.'

"I knew he was proud of me for caring about something bigger, something beyond my day-to-day life. It tied in to what he always told me: 'Do something of service, Ann, so that at the end of your days, you'll know your time here mattered.'"

Curry also spoke about her motto that “Journalism is an act of faith in the future,” which sounds sunny, but also quickly turns political: that journalism is all about hope and change and a liberal black president and “evolving into a more compassionate species.”

"It used to be that genocide and rape were facts of war, and now they're crimes against humanity. It used to be that children could be begging in the streets of lower Manhattan, and now it is against the law. It used to be you could legally lynch a black man in America. And now we have a black man as president. If you look at the course of history, you can't help but see that we are moving in this beautiful direction. We are evolving into a more compassionate species," she says as she touches my arm for emphasis.

The magazine discussed why Curry was passed over for the co-anchor spot before. One obvious reason – her spacey tendencies – came up:

The position went to outsider [Meredith] Vieira. Why? Who knows for sure? Curry herself says she was always a "natural reporter, but not a natural anchor." She was warm and earnest, but also a little spacey; Al Roker once called her "our ambassador from Planet Zebulon." And she had a kind of ditzy, girlish innocence. In 1998, when I interviewed her for this magazine, a Today staffer told me how they were going to cover picture hanging on the show, and they were all discussing it. "Yes!" Curry piped up. "It's so important to be well hung." "We all started snickering," the staffer said, "and Ann was going, 'What? What? What did I say?'"

Since Ladies Home Journal was trying overall to promote Ann Curry as a wonderful “brunette Doris Day” character, they also used the official NBC endorsement:

And it is Curry, perhaps more than anyone else on the show, who connects with guests, audience members, and staffers in a way that can't be faked. "The warmth is utterly genuine," says Lauer, who recalls how Curry was one of the few people who stopped to introduce herself when he came to work for NBC in New York City. When I interviewed Al Roker years ago, he said of Curry, "When you see her reporting a story that's tragic, you can see the pain. She is genuinely affected by what she's doing. She doesn't have a switch she can turn on and off."

A feel-your-pain journalist often ends up sounding like a liberal feel-your-pain Democrat. See Ann Curry’s profile in bias here.

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Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis