By Jack Engelhard
[News Flash! A few days after I wrote this commentary and was still polishing it, the UK Telegraph, coincidentally, reported that “Blondes Dull Men’s Brains.” (I’m not making this up.) The article goes on to say, “Researchers concluded that men performed worse after they were shown pictures of fair-haired women.” So, it’s scientifically proven that blondes are coming to take over the world and turn the rest of us into mutants. Terrifying! We, men, may have to hide in caves to hide from the glare. I’ve already begun wearing sunglasses.]
How did the news get to be so blonde? This is not a complaint. In fact, this is a tribute, I think.
Back in the old days, when we thought only men can handle the truth, TV news was delivered by Serious White Males, like Walter Cronkite, which is not to say that the blondes who’ve taken over are not serious. I’m sure they’ve got the requisite gravitas, but they make the going so much sweeter. Wars, earthquakes, forest fires come and go. The blondes endure.
If you’re thinking Katie Couric, fine, but I’m not. I’m thinking mostly cable, CNN, MSNBC and Fox – mostly Fox. That’s where blondes have more fun. By this I mean nearly everyone, from the anchors to the guests, are blonde! The political commentators, the psychologists, the historians who arrive for sound bites- they’re all babes, but babes with brains.
If you’re thinking Megyn Kelly over at Fox, I agree. The news from around the world, and closer to home, is usually so awful that, yes, I’d rather have leggy (and brainy) Megyn break it to me gently rather than, say, Rather, who exemplifies the disappearance of the White Male Anchor – truly an endangered species.
That’s a favorable development. Over there at PBS, there’s Jim Lehrer, and he scares me. He’s so somber. Every day it’s Armageddon all over again.. Public Broadcasting still hasn’t figured it out, that we don’t want to worry about the bomb in Iran. You’ll notice that President Bush spoke about an oncoming World War Three (yikes!) and, coming as it did with a smile from E.D. Hill on Fox, nobody jumped off a cliff.
That used to be called “a woman’s touch” and with all that’s going on out there in this awful world we can use all the nurturing we can get. If there’s a hurricane coming my way, I prefer that it come from Fox’s Janice Dean. ABC’s Charlie Gibson is all right, but I’m happier fighting our War On Terror with Laurie Dhue.
Even the stiff upper lip BBC has a blonde, Katty Kay. Some observers tell us that the BBC is anti American, anti Israel and even anti-Semitic. That may be so, but if I have to take that medicine, I’ll take it like that, with the honey, or rather, from the honey. (Am I being sexist here?) The same BBC’s Barbara Plett is openly hateful toward Israel (she wept at the loss of Arafat) so that’s a different story. Now it becomes a slur. She is not blonde.
The Invasion Of The Blonde Anchors possibly began with Lesley Stahl and Diane Sawyer. They were America’s first blondes, I think, anchorwise. They proved that blonde need not be a synonym for bimbo and that, in fact, it would be unwise for male chauvinists, like myself, to challenge these babes intellectually. We’d lose. (Megyn Kelly has a law degree and the others have similar credentials.)
Okay, Couric. Word has it that she’s not making it on CBS because she’s a woman and women are never taken seriously unless they’re our wives, daughters, mothers, supervisors, editors, doctors, lawyers, judges and governors. That’s baloney. The women are doing just fine over at Fox. Roger Ailes, who heads Fox’s news operation, knows exactly what he’s doing. He knew it from the moment he packed the house with blondes and said to America – news can be sexy.
In a world so bizarre, so chaotic, so bloodthirsty, we need it nursed to us and spooned with sweets.
We have it from Thomas Hobbes that life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” That’s journalism in a nutshell. (That’s everything, really.)
So who’s complaining if all that is delivered to us with sugar and spice.
About the author: Jack Engelhard wrote the international bestselling novel “Indecent Proposal” that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. Engelhard’s latest thriller, “The Bathsheba Deadline,” which centers on news media deceit with a Biblical twist, has been termed “a towering literary achievement” by reviewer Letha Hadady and “a courageous, rousing thriller” by author Robert Spencer. “The Bathsheba Deadline” is available in paperback at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Bathsheba-Deadline-Original-Novel/dp/0595470793/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1247971597&sr=8-1