My humble opinion on
January 15, 2002
Ted Turner's Cable News Network
created quite the stir when it ran and then immediately pulled ads for
its latest anchor babe, Paula Zahn. In case you live in a cave and
missed it, CNN aired about ten promos for Paula Zahn's new show. A male
announcer croons: "Where can you find a morning news anchor who's
provocative, super-smart, oh yeah, and just a little sexy?" The
word "sexy" popped on the screen, there was a photo of Zahn,
and finally, the obvious sound of a zipper zipping (presumably down).
CNN claimed the zipper was actually a needle skidding across a record.
It just sounded an awful lot like a zipper.
CNN chief Walter Isaacson immediately
fell all over himself apologizing, but tellingly admitted no
responsibility. "It was a bad mistake. I'm really sorry. The
promotion department didn't get it cleared." In other words, don't
blame me - the buck stops with marketing! Does anyone really believe
that Isaacson allows ads to run without his permission? Who is he
Maureen Dowd, the normally ignorable New
York Times columnist who excels at parroting the conventional
wisdom, wrote that "CNN made a terrible gaffe... and told a
The gaffe is admitting the truth: that
CNN, and more generally TV news, hire anchors based less on credentials
and more on looks.
This should surprise no one. TV, at
its most basic level, is entertainment. Not information, not news. We
want to be entertained, even as we're getting the seven-day weather
forecast or the stock market report. We do not want to look at some
acne-infested, sweaty, fleshy, painful-to-look-at unfortunate. We want
to see pretty, handsome, attractive. We like pretty things and beautiful
people. We won't watch anything else, so TV news, desperate for viewers,
gives us what we want.
There are exceptions, of course. I can
think of a handful of media celebrities, male and female, who aren't
But there's no sin in placing eye
candy in front of the camera. The sin is admitting it, as CNN
Is this unfair? Perhaps. But
unattractive yet talented people can always go into radio, or write.
That's life. Me, I'd love to be on TV. But I don't have the looks. I
know it. I accept it. Not a big deal. So I write. You should be
At the same time, I can also
understand why Paula Zahn and other serious anchor babes get offended.
They want to be taken seriously. They want us to know that they've
fought and clawed their way to the big time with their talent, hard
work, and dedication, not their hairstyle or cute smile or short skirt.
But they should remember that most
viewers are sophisticated enough to know the difference, based on
performance. Zahn is indeed super-smart, and it shows. She asks good
questions and offers unique insights. Other anchor babes, when straying
dangerously far from the TelePrompTer, reveal their, shall we say,
not-so-strong attributes in silly statements and inane questions.
But Zahn should be grateful about
something. Phil Kloer, a writer for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution,
made a good point when he wrote that it wasn't that long ago where
middle-aged women were getting replaced by hot young things, and wasn't
this so unfair. Zahn is 45, and CNN says she's sexy. And she is. Isn't
that, in a weird sort of way, progress?
This Enron fiasco is shaping up to be
the major political scandal of President Dubya's administration.
I've been following this story
closely, and so far it appears Bush and Cheney are clean. Democrats
sense this but still can't resist going fishing for dirt.
Enron donated about $800,000 to Bush
over the last 20 years or so, and though it gave money to both parties,
the vast bulk (70 to 80 percent) went to Republicans. Company executives
met with Dick Cheney several times over the spring and summer, and
others called other administration officials, asking for favors. It's
interesting that despite the donations their requests were pretty much
ignored. Dubya didn't do them any favors, and neither did Cheney. The
company went under.
It's how Enron went belly up that's
the problem. The executives seem to have hidden the firm's financial
problems while at the same time selling their plummeting shares as fast
as they could. Ken Lay, much aligned, took a soaking. His stocks were
once valued at $3 billion, and when he finally fully liquidated earned
"only" about $100 million. Hard to feel sorry for him,
particularly because Enron's employees, kept in the dark about Enron's
money problems, lost much of their life savings, because, as of late
October, they could not sell their shares.
Congress and the Justice Department
have opened probes, and if there has been any fraud or illegalities,
then fry Lay and his cronies. But I'm guessing that Democrats won't stop
there, and will try to tar Dubya with Enron all year, hoping to affect
the mid-term elections. Henry Waxman seems to be the guinea pig for this
strategy. He blamed Bush for doing nothing while Enron crumbled. But can
you imagine the outcry if Bush had bailed them out? Instead, Dubya let
the market work, while at the same time pressing for pension reform, so
employees don't get shafted again. Waxman's protests are a bit
disingenuous, I think. But if they work, if they put a dent in Dubya's
approval ratings, expect more of the same from other Democrats,
unwarranted and untrue though they may be.
It will probably go down as the most
famous photograph in American history, claiming the top spot now held by
the Iwo Jima photo. The image of the three New York firefighters proudly
and defiantly hoisting the American flag, amidst the ruin and
destruction wrought by the forces of evil and hate and ignorance, will
endure as a shining symbol of hope and triumph. It shows our unique
American character, the rugged individualism blended with a fierce love
of country. It stands on its own; no caption or explanation is needed.
And then the race hustlers got their
slimy hands on it, and ruined it.
A $180,000 sculpture based on that
photo will be erected in the spring at the New York Fire Department's
headquarters in Brooklyn. Meant as a tribute to the 343 firefighters who
lost their lives while trying to save others, the statue will be built
by a company called StudioEis. A clay model of the statue was unveiled
December 21, and it's no more than an abomination of political
correctness and racial tyranny.
You see, the three firefighters in the
photo were all white men. Apparently, that was unacceptable to the fire
department, so they turned three white men into one White, one Black,
and one Hispanic. "Given that those who died were of all races and
ethnicities and that the statue was to be symbolic of those
sacrifices... a decision was made to honor... everyone who made the
supreme sacrifice," babbled a Fire Department spokesman.
What stupid, pointless nonsense. Are
they saying that three white men can't represent the entire fire
department? Whites can't represent everyone in a group? Are they really
That's what it seems to me. These
people are so blinded by race, so driven by their own twisted notions of
representation, the stark truth must seem like a crucifix waved before a
vampire. They cringe from it, weeping and wailing, and shut their eyes
tight and wish and hope that it wasn't three frigging honkies in that
picture. The horror!
Want the truth? The fact is, of the
11,500 firefighters in New York, less than three percent are Black and
less than four percent are Hispanic. The force is overwhelmingly
comprised of ethnic whites, namely Irish and Italian.
But never mind that. That only matters
to the racial bean counters. What's truly important is the notion that
three brave firefighters apparently cannot represent their own place of
employment because of their skin tone.
But there's an even bigger problem,
and Kevin James, a member of something called the Vulcan Society, which
represents Black firefighters, unwittingly revealed it. "The
symbolism of it (the statue) is far more important than representing the
actual people. I think the artistic expression of diversity would
supersede any concern over factual correctness."
Did you catch that? That hoary old
idol of the race hustlers, "diversity," is more important than
the truth. Their own poisonous agenda of dividing Americans along racial
lines is more important than the reality that should unite us all. That
photo is important to all Americans, and these people have turned it
into a racially polarized object of divisiveness and scorn. They don't
care about people. They don't care about what makes each person unique,
a creature created by God. That means nothing. To them, people are
little more than pawns to be manipulated around their own little
chessboard. Men and women, white and black and otherwise, each endowed
with character, personality, and traits that makes everyone unique, are
nothing more, in these people's eyes, than the sum total of their
pigmentation. That's all that matters. That's all they see.
These people are ignorant,
close-minded, deceitful, and pathetic. They make me sick and they make
me sad. But they won't win. Make all the sculptures you want, that photo
lives as a testament to America and Americans, of all races and creeds.
And there's not a damn thing any race hustler can do about it.