Former Today co-hosts Bryant Gumbel and Jane Pauley shared in the NBC anchoring duties on Monday’s Today, and Gumbel naturally returned to Republican-bashing form.
In a 7:30 am segment on the top news stories of 2013 as rated by users at Culturalist.com, when the government shutdown came up, Gumbel argued it’s a “false equivalency” to blame both parties for the shutdown when all the blame should be on Republicans: [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Today is the 40th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., a day that is likely to pass with limited, if any, notice from a national news media which is hostile to the pro-life cause. While the abortion issue has divided Americans for the past four decades, journalists have consistently come down on the pro-abortion side of this debate.
It’s a bias some reporters freely admit. “I think that when abortion opponents complain about a bias in newsrooms against their cause, they’re absolutely right,” Boston Globe legal reporter Ethan Bronner told the Los Angeles Times back in 1990. “Opposing abortion, in the eyes of most journalists...is not a legitimate, civilized position in our society.”
In 2008, just four years after leaving NBC News, Jane Pauley gave the maximum allowed donation to Barack Obama ($2,300) and campaigned for him in her native Indiana where she proclaimed “I want to see the cool, steady hand of Barack Obama on that Bible on Inauguration Day” and predicted Obama will be “an exceptional” President, enthusing: “I so look forward to it!”
On Tuesday morning (March 9) Pauley reappeared on the Today show, which she co-hosted from 1976 to 1989 before spending more than a decade with Dateline NBC, as the narrator of a new monthly segment produced by the liberal AARP, “Your Life Calling Today,” about those 50-plus reinventing themselves. “We are welcoming back a very, underline ‘very’ good friend and familiar face around here, Jane Pauley,” Matt Lauer announced, explaining “she’s been working with AARP which has produced and sponsored a new series of reports for us.” Her first report looked at a woman who “left a lucrative career so she would have more time to knit socks.”
Not exactly hard-hitting political reporting, but it gives me a hook to share some 2008 video of Pauley praising Obama as she made appearances on his behalf. “Pauley called the last eight years a mistake and says America must make the right choice come election day,” WISH-TV channel 8 reporter Phil Sanchez related on the Indianapolis CBS affiliate’s Sunday, September 21, 2008 newscast. Just over a month later, following an event in Bloomington, sporting an Obama button she told Indiana University’s public TV station, WTIU:
Garry Trudeau, the leftist author/artist of the comic strip Doonesbury, gave an interview about Twitter to the Mediabistro blog WebNewser, where he displayed his snooty distaste for "populist pandering" to the little people. When asked if any TV news stars were particularly annoying on Twitter, he unfurled a general pet peeve instead: asking for "obvious or inane" interview questions from the public. Without irony, Trudeau suggested journalists were like pilots or surgeons:
Not in particular (hey, I like TV news folks -- married one! [longtime NBC liberal Jane Pauley]), but in general the most baffling are the reporters who solicit their followers for questions before interviews. Please. You're supposed to be professionals. Do pilots and surgeons ask for suggestions?
If you can't think of a few good questions, you and your producer are in the wrong business. It's not about getting fresh, out-of-the-bubble perspectives, as they would argue: most questions sent in are obvious or inane. It's really about flattering the followers, populist pandering.
This is rich territory for Trudeau to trudge upon, considering some of Jane Pauley’s inane questions. (To Hillary Clinton, 1992: "You prepared Chelsea: Bad things may be said about Daddy. Was Chelsea at all prepared for bad things being said about Mommy?" And: "What do you not do perfectly?")
Jane Pauley, one-time co-host of NBC's Today and Dateline NBC programs, is actively campaigning for Barack Obama. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote of one such appearance in Portage, Indiana that attracted only eight people. That event also featured Steve Skvara, the retired steelworker who in August of last year tearfully asked Democratic presidential candidates at a debate, "What's wrong with America? And what will you do to change it?"
It's only fair that I follow up by reporting that Pauley's current efforts are being met with much more enthusiasm. Maybe it's because she's now campaigning at Democratic headquarters and that's a more welcoming venue than the previously utilized union hall, difficult as it is to distinguish between the two. Perhaps the advance planning, blamed for her earlier poor turnout, was improved. Possibly it's because she lost Skvara, even though his admirers include MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who last year asked Skvara, "Well, can I pay tribute—can I pay tribute to you, sir?"
There's a heartwarming story in today's Times of Northwest Indiana. Jane Pauley, one-time co-host of NBC's Today and Dateline NBC programs, made an appearance yesterday for Barack Obama. Joining her was Steve Skvara, the retired steelworker who in August of last year tearfully asked Democratic presidential candidates at a debate, "What's wrong with America? And what will you do to change it?" The Times reported:
PORTAGE Former television news anchor and Hoosier native Jane Pauley returned to her professional roots Monday during a local appearance on behalf of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.
Pauley, who said she worked for the state Democratic Party before launching her successful news career, took part in a panel discussion aimed at touting the benefits of Obama's economic plans for Hoosiers over that of his Republican challenger John McCain.