Unlike Tom Shales, Robert Lloyd can’t quite bring himself to say that Christiane Amanpour stinks in her new job. So he, in a sort of media-critic inversion of Mark Antony’s funeral speech, comes to praise Amanpour — well, sort of. She didn’t “exactly break down the walls” in her interviews with Robert Gates and Nancy Pelosi, he explains. He continues:
She lacks the familiarity that characterizes many of her colleagues, who whatever their differences project a chummy attitude of being in the same game — whether the game of politics or the game of maintaining a career talking about them. Her hallmark is rather an almost inelegant, even partisan urgency, with a tendency to personalize politics — that is, to make it about people — born possibly from all the years she has spent in distressed places under fire. “Is America going to abandon the women of Afghanistan, the people of Afghanistan?” she asked Pelosi.
She speaks loudly and intently, as if she has not lost the habit of yelling over heavy artillery and wants to get her questions out before the bombs get too close. This can make her sound pushy at times, and she will sometimes insist on a point long after it’s clear that her interlocutor will not respond in any meaningful way. But one would say it’s because she cares.
Or one could say it’s because she’s entirely ill-suited for this job.
Her selection and the booting of a perfectly competent and pleasant host represent the desperate ends to which news networks are going in order to remain viable. But who knows, maybe there is an audience for a screechy, rude host who turns policy arguments into personal spats and makes no effort to hide her biases. No, it didn’t work for Keith Olbermann, but she’s much better looking.