January 17, 2012



  1. … That’s what Gayle King and Michelle Obama seemed like last week while the first lady was being interviewed by new ‘CBS This Morning” show anchor King
  2. … The interview was a friendly chat like two girlfriends would have.
  3. … Like at a slumber party.
  4. … The questions were kind and considerate and the two spoke very personally.
  5. M.O. came off well.
  6. King did admit and gave a disclaimer to that effect while sitting at the plexiglass roundtable-like news set of the revamped morning program that the two of them are friends.
  7. … It showed.
  8. … They’re connected, just like Gayle and Oprah are, BFFs (“best friends forever,” to use the Internet slang) , as they say.
  9. JUST ASKING. So is that why she, King, got the interview?  And was the fact that CBS was debuting a new show that week the reason why Mrs. Obama granted the interview, thereby becoming part of the promotion for the new program?
  10. David Shuster (remember him?), former MSNBC anchor and currently primary substitute anchor for Keith Olbermann on Current TV, called it “access journalism” on CNN’s Reliable Sources program on Sunday and said that CBS should have had someone like Charlie Rose, the new main anchor of the ever-changing morning program, do the interview.
  11. … I guess he meant that Rose would have given the interview more news credibility or something like that.
  12. … I thought the idea of the new show was that King would do the softer stuff and leave the hard news to Rose and third anchor Erica Hill. (Yes, there are three.)
  13. … Not so.  It was the center of the news for the show and made news everywhere else
  14. … Every news organization was sound-biting about it.
  15. … Maybe King’s role should be rethought.
  16. … Maybe she’s more newsy than they thought.
  17. … So will she become the Oprah-like person for the show now and get guests to spill their guts for her?
  18. . . . King and Michelle Obama talked about a controversial book that had just came out called “The Obamas,” in which New York Times author Jody Kantor related several stories about the first lady that weren’t that complimentary. 
  19. … It was all the gossipy items that made it into the news, which is usually the case.  Not much else about the book was discussed on TV, only the juicy bits, like in tabloid journalism.
  20. … What’s that say for a writer/reporter who works for The New York Times?
  21. … (Actually, the Michelle Obama interview request was made last year before the book had even come out, so the timing was very fortunate and got a lot of publicity for the show and for the book.)
  22. … But the interview was much more wide-ranging than just the semi-scandalous headlines.
  23. … They talked about the Obama daughters (Sasha and Malia) and the fact that when mom thinks about the girls “I think of the word called ‘dating’ and that it  is coming soon” and she’s concerned about that as a mother.
  24. … They stopped by the White House movie theater (yes, they have one), which King remarked was all red velvet (seats, drapes).
  25. … The girls, we learned, don’t really like it though.  They like to go out with their friends to the real movies.
  26. Bo, their Portuguese water dog, trotted out to say hi during the excursion.
  27. … The pooch looked like he was wearing white socks -- made me think of the Clinton’s beloved cat Socks -- and sat right down beside the first lady and acted well-behaved, not squirming around and sniffing and panting like most dogs would do.
  28. … A professional hound.
  29. … The two women strolled along together down a hallway while King pointed to and asked Mrs. Obama about this and that picture hanging on the gallery wall.
  30. … “Can I just say I love this picture?” commented King as they paused along the way.
  31. … To another photo of the first lady with the president:  “What are you doing here?” asked King inquisitively.
  32. LATER, FROM HER COLLEAGUES.  “Great stuff Gayle,” complimented fellow anchor Hill.
  33. … The compliments kept coming in each day of the week as yet another portion of the interview was aired.
  34. … It was like another layer of the onion unpeeling.
  35. … It stretched into the weekend. 
  36. … There was no end to it.
  37. … I hope it’s all over now.
  38. … Incidentally, Betty Nguyen, news reader on the original Early Show and now not seen during the weekday revamp of the program, did appear on the new show’s Saturday incarnation:  CBS This Morning Saturday (ain’t that a mouthful?) and read the news.
  39. … She loves the new set and said so, speaking from her new position at the big plexiglass roundtable.
  40. … She likes being right up there with the other talent on the show and not in Siberia where she used to deliver the news, distanced from where the action was.
  41. … Now she’s up close and comfy with the home team.
  42. PUZZLING. Earlier in the week Nguyen was seen on Entertainment Tonight, talking on their show set with anchor Nancy O’Dell about the upcoming People’s Choice Awards for which she (Nguyen) would be on the red carpet covering the arrivals.
  43. … Wait a minute.  Is Betty now working for ET and has she left the news business, I wondered?
  44. … Maybe she was just moonlighting for the non-news program, (which is part of parent company CBS anyway) and they just tossed Nguyen a bone to be part of the entertainment show’s Hollywood coverage while The Early Show was transitioning to CBS This Morning.
  45. … Nevertheless, it made me wonder:  Is it a good idea to have your network news person doing such an entertainment kind of thing, lapping up all the pomp and circumstance of the celebrity world and then in the next breath be seen back in New York seriously delivering the news?
  46. … Seemed incongruent.
  48. Would somebody tell Erin Burnett I’m “getting out of the bubble”?
  49. … That’s a reference to a promo the former CNBC reporter/anchor does for her relatively new nightly program  on CNN called OutFront, in which she warns the audience:  “It’s a really big world.  You have to get out of the bubble.”
  50. … She sounds like a disciplinarian so I guess I better.
  51. Us Weekly’s Jan. 9th issue had Kim Kardashian on the cover in a red bikini in an obviously photo-shopped picture that was plugging “Diets That Work” and how Kim got thin but kept her curves.
  52. … Also mentioned was how to “get J. Lo’s legs, Rihanna’s abs, Pippa’s butt.”
  53. … Elsewhere in the issue the magazine captioned a picture of the backside of the sister of Kate Middleton from the royal wedding thusly:  “Pippa keeps her posterior perky with Pilates twice a week.”
  54. … How respectful is that?
  55. Knowing that he’s an animal lover, Piers Morgan asked Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich what kind of animal he’d like to be on his CNN talk show.
  56. Newt said an elephant.  Something about the number of muscles they have (105,000) in their trunks.
  57. … That Piers.  He asks the hard questions.
  58. MEMORY. Remember when Barbara Walters asked Katharine Hepburn what kind of tree she’d like to be?
  59. ANSWER: An oak tree.
  60. BACKGROUND.  Actually Hepburn brought up the subject herself during an interview with Walters on the Broadway set of The West Side Waltz which she was starring in back in 1981
  61. Hepburn was talking about her image and being strong and that it’s something “the people have created” about her and she reluctantly likened herself to a tree (tall, strong) and Walters picked up on that and asked her , “What kind of a tree are you, if you think you’re a tree? 
  62. Hepburn responded, laughingly, “I hope I’m not an elm with Dutch elm disease … Everybody would want to be an oak tree, that’s very strong and very pretty.”
  63. … So that’s it.
  64. Mitt Romney was dressed down again last week in jeans, I guess, to show that he’s not stiff and one of the people.
  65. … I noticed this while he was deboarding a plane on the campaign trail.
  66. … No low-risers for him:  He wears his blue jeans like dress pants, all perfect-looking, no wrinkes and pulled up high.
  67. … I’d like to see him in a pair of Gap 1969 drop crotch skinny jeans (black wash).  That oughta get him some young votes.
  68. Rick Santorum believes his sweater vests give him power and credits them for his good showing in the recent Iowa caucuses.
  69. … He’s even got a Web site and a Twitter account for them.
  70. … Tweet this.
  71. … I think they tend to look a bit grampaw-ish.
  72. Al Sharpton is a Baptist minister and  is often addressed as “The ReverendAl Sharpton by various fellow MSNBC anchors when he’s mentioned as a guest on one of their programs.  (He’s got his own show, PoliticsNation on the cable network.)
  73. … Is that necessary?  Does the formality of attaching the clergy title before his given name have to be observed?   He’s just another working stiff like everyone else in TV.  
  74. … Is it out of reverence?
  75. … Does he expect to be addressed in this manner like Joe Biden’s wife Jill insists that Dr. precede her name and that she be called that all the time?
  76.   What’s next?   The Right ReverendAl Sharpton, for God’s sake?
  77. CHANGE. In The Washington Post.  They’ve stopped using those awful pseudo hand –drawn sketches of its columnists that accompany their articles and have gone  back  to using actual photographs of them that you can recognize.
  78. … Those copycat Wall Street Journal etchings never did work, if you ask me.
  79. … What’s old is new again.
  80. I think I’ve got Wolf Blitzer hair.  Does that qualify me to be a news anchor?
  81. Ann Curry wore a sheath-type dress with a yellow and orange and red sunrise logo like the Today show uses on the side of it. 
  82. … A walking advertisement. 
  83. … Why not wear a sandwich board?
  84. … It was in commemoration of the program’s 60th anniversary.
  85. … Only she would do something like that.
  86. … Looked ridiculous.
  87. … UH … The Way You Look TonightThe Letterman, on Capitol Records, 1961.



© Rocci Fisch/Random Thoughts

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