In Monday’s New York Times, reporter John Koblin hailed, in feminist terms, liberal CNN International journalist Christiane Amanpour taking over the old Charlie Rose slot on PBS after the host’s departure in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal: “No Longer Dark, Clubby, Or Led by a Man.” Amanpour & Company debuts Monday night:
Ms. Amanpour, 60, made her name as a CNN war correspondent in the early 1990s, covering conflicts in the Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Haiti and Rwanda. “Where There’s War, There’s Amanpour” went a New York Times headline in 1994. Since 2012, she has been the host on CNN International of “Amanpour,” the show that served as a fill-in for PBS as it made plans for something more permanent.
Mr. Rose’s show, with its procession of establishment guests and clubby atmosphere, remained unchanged through its more-than-two-decade run. In its place will be a program, led by a formidable woman, that promises to be brighter, livelier and more of the moment.
“It maintains the tradition,” Ms. Amanpour said, “but it certainly expands on it and brings it into the 21st century, in terms of certainly its gender parity and its look around the world.”
If Amanpour’s description sounds just a bit political, it is. She has a long history of working her liberal internationalism (and lately, fierce-anti-Trumpism) into her reporting, a history Koblin reliably ignores.
Liberal media enemy Fox News came in for a crack:
The centerpiece was a glass table, which seemed not to thrill Ms. Amanpour.
“What is this New York woman kind of desk?” she asked.
“Like Fox News!” a producer replied, drolly.
It turned out that Ms. Amanpour wasn’t exactly joking. In a later interview, she said, “I never like the idea of sitting under a transparent desk so my legs could be the object of interest.”
While Ms. Amanpour has had a long run as the host of a CNN International show, she has yet to prove herself as the anchor of a long-lasting program in the United States. When ABC made her the host of its Sunday morning public affairs show, “This Week,” in 2010, she said her main mission was to “make foreign news less foreign” and found herself out of the job in little over a year.
Mr. Zucker blamed the failure partly on Ms. Amanpour’s not quite fitting a morning television genre that demands plenty of inside-the-Beltway talk.
Despite her ABC experience, Ms. Amanpour remains a believer in her own idea of what American audiences want.
But do American audiences really want a host that accuses them of worshipping “at the altar of the gun gods”? Koblin studiously ignored Amanpour's liberal slant:
Ms. Amanpour sounded proud to take on a job -- talk show host -- that has been dominated by men.
“Am I proud as a woman -- and as a component woman, not just as a token woman -- that I get this slot?” she said. “Absolutely. Do I think it was absolutely vital that a woman got this job? Absolutely. That’s what I believe.”
The first showing of Amanpour and Company will feature an interview with Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway. CNN’s Brian Stelter, host of Reliable Sources, had a preview, which shows Amanpour defending the media against a dangerous President:
Every administration complains about not getting a fair shake from the press corps, though. One of the differences with Trump is the way he tries to delegitimize and even dehumanize reporters.
That's what Amanpour, one of the world's best known international correspondents, tried to get at with Conway: The damaging effects of Trump's words and actions.
She pointed out that a California man was recently arrested for calling in threats to the Boston Globe.
"At what point," Amanpour asked, "is there a red line for you, personally, in the rhetoric causing potential danger and having consequences?"....Amanpour pressed her again. "There are also all sorts of despicable and undemocratic leaders all over the world who are taking seriously" Trump's attacks, taking it as "permission to demonize their own press."
Amanpour has previously warned of the “grave and existential threat” Trump posed to the press.