Another Day, Another Walters Puff Interview

 At some points in last night's interview with Barbara Walters, ABC's Charles Gibson forgot he was a hard hitting journalist and decided to simply engage in girl talk.

While discussing the beginning of Walters's career, Gibson revealed that she got her first job because of her legs and she slept with her first boss at NBC, which apparently was okay because she "already had the job." Gibson also showed the prevailing attitudes once taken toward women in newsrooms by highlighting a segment she did on the Playboy Club for "The Today Show." 

Gibson could have easily asked Walters about the impact these experiences had on her life, but instead he settled for a gab session that could have been taken from a "Sex and the City" script (albeit the sanitized version airing on TBS).  All that was missing were the Manolo Blahnik references and a table full of cosmos.  

His follow up question to the "sleeping with the boss" revelation was, "why did you tell us that?" which Walters deflected by asking Gibson, "Why did I tell you half the things I told you in this book? I don't know."

"Sex sells" probably wouldn't have been a proper answer, even it if might contain a grain of truth. 

Walters acted coy at times ("And he hired me.  I thought because I could do speed writing. He said he'd liked my legs," "What?  I slept with my first boss?  What book are you reading?") and even demonstrated for Gibson a skill she picked up while covering the Playboy Club, the "Bunny dip:" 

BARBARA WALTERS:  I had this little costume. And I learned how to do the Bunny dip so that you didn't fall out of your costume.

CHARLES GIBSON:  Show me the bunny dip.

WALTERS: You want to see the bunny dip?


WALTERS: Well, I have a tight, little costume. And I have a little bunny tail. And I have little bunny ears. [CLIP] Think you could show me?

UNIDENTIFIED BUNNY: Left leg in front of the right leg. [END CLIP]

WALTERS: So, if I'm serving you a drink and I go like this, something [gesturing to her chest] may fall into the drink.

WALTERS [CLIP]:  It's like a ballet movement. [END CLIP.]

WALTERS:  But if you put one foot behind the other and you bend your knees, and you go like this, see? I haven't bent over.

GIBSON:  And you haven't shown me anything that --

WALTERS:  And I haven't shown you anything. Now, this was not --

GIBSON:  But I'm there to see it.

WALTERS: Too bad. Try somebody else. This has not helped me anywhere in life.

Fidel Castro's name came up in a segment on the various interviews Walters had done over the years. Gibson accused Walters of flirting with him to land the interview:

GIBSON:  Why did you start by telling me there was no romance between you and Castro?

WALTERS: Because people tease me about it all the time. I think there was a sort of misconception. Well, you also get interviews with some of these people because you're a woman. Maybe you do get some because you're a woman.

GIBSON: You flirted with him.

WALTERS: And maybe you don't get some because you're a woman.

GIBSON: You flirted with him.

WALTERS: No, I did not.

GIBSON:  Yes, you did.

WALTERS: No, I did not, Charlie. I liked him. But I did a very strong interview. I did not --

GIBSON: That's fine. That's fine. But --

WALTERS:  Charlie, I did not flirt with him. See? That's what I'm saying. See, just because you said that, no, I didn't flirt with him. I was very straight.

And no promotion of Walters' book is complete without mention of her affair with the then-married former U.S. Senator Edward Brooke. 

To Gibson's credit, he did ask "Why" but he then quickly interrupted Walters' answer with the now boring question "How did you keep it secret?" 

Walters gave her standard response it "was a different time":

It was 30 years ago. It had to be kept secret. He had a bad marriage. But in those days, you didn't get divorced. He was one of the most fantastic, attractive, intelligent, difficult, fascinating -- and I put him in the book, perhaps, because it was such a different time. And I wanted people to understand how different it was then.

Note to Gibson: stick to anchoring "World News" and leave the contrived girl talk to "Sex and the City" writers. 

Culture/Society ABC