Somehow I missed yesterday's This Week on ABC, which marked the debut of the show's newest host, Christiane Amanpour. But Tom Shales caught it. And he didn't much like it. One of the problems, according to Shales, is that "[Amanpour is] miscast for the role, her highly touted global orientation coming across as inappropriate and contrived on a broadcast that for three decades has dealt primarily with domestic politics, policies and culture." It gets worse.
Amanpour announced her intention to "open a window on the world" now that she runs "This Week," but the show was hardly a haven for isolationists, and refashioning it to take advantage of Amanpour's specialty could, in a word, ruin it.... During the roundtable portion of the show ... Amanpour didn't stick to discussing news of the week with the show's estimable, exceptional panelists ... but instead brought in a foreign journalist seen earlier in the program, Ahmed Rashid (momentarily stationed in Madrid), for his views via satellite. It was awkward in form and proved negligible in content.
In fact, it became ludicrous when, near the end of the segment, the U.S. economy was discussed and Amanpour called upon Rashid, the Taliban expert, again even though he seemed of dubious relevance and authority to the topic at hand.
Shales suspects temp-host Jake Tapper would have done just fine in the slot (the show had even once beat out Meet the Press in the ratings). Alas, he writes, it was not to be: "Tapper, in fact, grew quickly and comfortably into the role of 'This Week' host and became a kind of 'favorite son' in campaigns by fans on Facebook and the Internet generally—even as the clock ticked his interim tenure away and the Grand Duchess Amanpour approached on her royal barge from overseas."
Based on the transcript, Amanpour opened the program by explaining that "after 20 years covering the world, the story in this country is turning into one of the most fascinating. The struggle over politics and policy and how they merge to meet people's needs."
Turning into one of the most fascinating. Thank goodness our country's domestic politics is slowly beginning to be deemed newsworthy.