Christiane Amanpour | Media Matters for America

Christiane Amanpour

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  • Replacing a harasser with a highly qualified woman is a good start, but it isn’t enough 

    Blog ››› ››› PAM VOGEL


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    In 2017, we saw the first wave of high-profile men lose their media jobs after they were publicly named for sexual harassment or abusive behavior. This phenomenon seems to be far from over, but the last few weeks have also marked a new phase of the so-called reckoning: the first concentrated round of successors. A few stand-out and obviously qualified women are now being given the overdue opportunity to step up -- but the ways their employers have treated their new roles signals there’s a lot more work to be done.

    Back in December, PBS announced it would fill Charlie Rose’s time slot with CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour’s show “on an interim basis.” Earlier this month, NBC formalized its replacement of Matt Lauer with longtime Today co-host Hoda Kotb, and CBS News co-anchor Alex Wagner was announced as a replacement for Mark Halperin in Showtime’s political documentary series The Circus. Yesterday, The New York Times formally announced it was appointing reporter Katie Rogers to its White House beat, which was vacated by Glenn Thrush.

    Simply replacing male harassers with qualified women is not nearly enough, though. The examples so far do not represent anything close to a cultural change, which is what’s needed to effectively address such a clearly systemic problem. For each of these accomplished women, their promotions or new gigs have been coupled with sexist indignities or caveats.

    Just hours after Hoda Kotb was announced as the new permanent Today co-anchor, Page Six reported that she would be making a significantly smaller salary than the serial abuser whose seat she would fill -- even as Kotb plans to continue co-hosting her additional fourth hour of the show, working literally more than Lauer.

    Others aren’t technically replacements at all. Katie Rogers was named the Times’ new White House correspondent after Glenn Thrush was removed from the beat. But Thrush was not fired, to be clear, and will apparently continue to report for the Times in a to-be-determined new role in late January following a brief suspension. And Christiane Amanpour isn’t taking over Charlie Rose’s eponymous PBS show (which he produced independently) or even hosting a new show for PBS that would adopt the same format. Instead, PBS is simply electing to air her current show, Amanpour, “on an interim basis,” during Rose’s old time slot. (Rose's other former employer, CBS, has now reportedly filled Rose's morning show seat with Sunday news anchor John Dickerson.) 

    These initial replacements were obvious choices to make and, in some cases, long overdue. But today’s context reeks of an opportunistic exploitation of the public female body by news corporations, and it cheapens the accomplishments of Kotb, Wagner, Rogers, and Amanpour, and others they represent. Indeed, some of these same women were asked to serve as the public faces for processing the offenses reportedly committed by their predecessors. As Doreen St. Felix wrote in The New Yorker on Lauer's firing, “It is no surprise that, to convey something like moral mooring to a vastly female audience, the networks rely on women anchors to break the public fall.”

    This icky feeling now can be summed up with a simple but telling act: The Hill, in promoting its write-up on Wagner’s new role on The Circus, tweeted, “Showtime’s ‘The Circus’ to replace Mark Halperin with female journalist.” The story was still about Halperin, after all, as it had always been; Wagner’s name or any of her myriad qualifications were less important than the convenient symbolism her body allowed media to neatly package into a few characters.

  • CNN’s Christiane Amanpour Criticizes The Media’s Frenzy Over Clinton’s Health

    Amanpour: "Can't A Girl Have A Sick Day?"

    Blog ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour criticized the media for “having a field day” with their coverage of Hillary Clinton falling ill during a Sept. 11 memorial and her subsequent disclosure of a pneumonia diagnosis.

    On September 11, Hillary Clinton left a 9/11 memorial service at Ground Zero in New York City after becoming ill. After disclosing her diagnosis of pneumonia, Clinton’s doctor explained that she left the event after she “became overheated and dehydrated,” but after some rest, Clinton said she was “feeling fine.”

    Right-wing media immediately seized on the episode with Matt Drudge questioning whether or not Clinton will survive, Rush Limbaugh speculating that she had a seizure, and Fox host Brian Kilmeade claiming that Clinton could be replaced as the Democratic nominee.

    Media across the political spectrum immediately claimed that the incident vindicated the Clinton health conspiracy theories that have become staples of fringe outlets. Coverage by CNN has been particularly problematic, as the network questioned whether it was “plausible” that Clinton’s “apparent collapse” was caused by pneumonia, insinuated that Clinton’s 2012 concussion might have “caused some sort of brain thing,” and hosted doctors who baselessly speculated on Clinton’s condition.

    During the September 12 edition of CNN International’s Amanpour, Amanpour highlighted the sexist nature of the media’s coverage of Clinton’s health, asking “Can’t a girl have a sick day or two” and denounced the way in which “overqualified women hav[e] to try a hundred times harder than unqualified men to get a break or even a level playing field”:

     

    CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR (HOST): But surely this can’t be a case of a human being having an off day. Nope like so many things Hillary, the media are having a field day, off to the races with another debilitating case of indignant outrage. This must be another typical Clinton conspiracy to fool them with a total transparency break down. Talk about a transparency break down, what about Donald Trump’s tax returns - where are they? Can’t a girl have a sick day or two? Don’t get me started because when it comes to overqualified women having to try a hundred times harder than unqualified men to get a break or even a level playing field, well, we know that story.

  • An Extensive Guide To The Fact Checks, Debunks, And Criticisms Of Trump’s Various Problematic Policy Proposals

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Over the course of the 2016 presidential primary, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has laid forth a series of problematic policy proposals and statements -- ranging from his plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States to his suggestion that the United States default on debt -- that media have warned to be “dangerous,” “fact-free,” “unconstitutional,” “contradictory,” “racist,” and “xenophobic.” Media Matters compiled an extensive list of Trump’s widely panned policy plans thus far along with the debunks and criticism from media figures, experts and fact-checkers that go along with them.

  • Ten Journalists Who Have Called Out Trump's "Shocking" Phone "Advantage"

    ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS & JARED HOLT

    As scrutiny has mounted against cable and network news programs regularly allowing Donald Trump to call in to their broadcasts, rather than appearing in person or by satellite, several journalists have said they will no longer allow him that privilege. Others have called for an end to the "shocking" special treatment across all networks and pointed out the ways the practice gives Trump a strategic "advantage."

  • Donald Trump Complains That CNN's Excessive Coverage Of Him Is Not Enough

    Despite Having Two Surrogates On Staff At CNN And Receiving Nearly Three Hours Of Airtime So Far In March, Trump Threatens To Skip CNN Town Hall

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN WHITEHOUSE

    Citing "one-sided and unfair reporting," Donald Trump has threatened to skip tonight's CNN town hall. In reality, Trump has been interviewed for nearly three hours this month on CNN, which regularly airs the candidate's events live and also has two Trump surrogates on staff who routinely push his talking points.

    A Media Matters review of CNN's coverage found that Trump has been interviewed 11 times, constituting 2 hours and 55 minutes, in March alone -- not counting debates.

    Additionally, CNN employs Trump surrogates Jeffrey Lord (who is under fire for saying MoveOn.org is the "new Ku Klux Klan") and Kayleigh McEnany. Since March 22 alone, Lord has appeared six times and McEnany 13 times. Furthermore, as reported by BuzzFeed's Kyle Blaine, asked days ago about why the network regularly aired Trump events live and in their entirety, CNN's Washington bureau chief Sam Feist said that the network was providing a "valuable service" by airing events by all candidates. Blaine also previously reported that CNN participated in a conference call where the Trump campaign dictated how Trump could be shot in his events.

    Just hours after Trump's complaint, when news broke of Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski being charged with battery, CNN interviewed both McEnany and Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes, with McEnany calling Lewandowski's charge "a side story."

    CNN's oceans of Trump coverage have come despite protests on air at CNN and by CNN personalities. As Blaine noted, former CNN analyst and network news correspondent Jeff Greenfield complained on CNN earlier this month about the network's repeated airing of Trump's rallies. Just yesterday, CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour noted the huge advantage that Trump enjoys because interviewers allow him to call in to their shows rather than appearing on camera. And earlier this month, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo noted to Seth Meyers that phone interviews provide an advantage to Trump.

    Hours after that interview aired, Cuomo interviewed Trump by phone.

    This post has been updated for clarity.