Journalist Jane Pauley turns 70

She’s hosted CBS Sunday Morning since October 9, 2016

Jane PauleyJane Pauley noted on the August 16, 2020 episode of CBS Sunday Morning the 20th anniversary of her bipolar depression. Her acknowledgment of the condition was unsurprising. She’d written about it, and other facets of her life, in a book called Skywriting. The diagnosis came “out of the blue,” part of the subtitle of the book.

On October 23, 2019, Jane had appeared on CBS This Morning’s special “Stop the Stigma” broadcast to discuss when she was first diagnosed in 2001. Incidentally, she hated the term “stigma.”

Like most people, I first saw Jane on the TODAY show on NBC. In fact, I swear that I watched her appearance in 1976, introduced by then co-anchor Tom Brokaw. After Brokaw left to anchor NBC Nightly News, she was paired with Bryant Gumbel from the beginning of 1982 to the end of 1989.

I regularly watched at least the first hour of the program. She also had other assignments, such as anchoring the Sunday edition of the Nightly News from 1980 to 1982.

NBC launched Dateline on March 31, 1992, Jane co-anchored the newsmagazine from the beginning to 2003 along with Stone Phillips. I viewed it occasionally, depending on the topic. Then I largely lost track of her.

The Eye

“On April 27, 2014, following an appearance during a ‘where are they now’ segment and interview on CBS Sunday Morning, Pauley began contributing to the show as a correspondent and occasional substitute host. Pauley has been a guest host on CBS This Morning and has also filled in for Scott Pelley on the CBS Evening News.”

I’ve been watching Sunday Morning since it first aired on January 28, 1979, with original host Charles Kuralt. When I first got a VCR, it and JEOPARDY! were the first programs I would record; ditto on the DVR. Charles Osgood was the host of the 90-minute program for 22 years, taking over from Kuralt on April 10, 1994.

When I heard Osgood was retiring, I knew there was only one logical replacement. Apparently, I wasn’t alone. “‘We first got to know Jane when we did a story about her on Sunday Morning,’ said Rand Morrison, the show’s executive producer, in a statement.

“‘Our viewers immediately responded by suggesting she belonged on Sunday Morning permanently. And – as is so often the case, they were right. She’s a dedicated, experienced broadcast journalist. But – every bit as important – she’s a delight to work with. A worthy successor – and a perfect fit.'”

The show has been hosted by Jane Pauley since October 9, 2016. Notably, she has interviewed fellow Indianians such as David Letterman and John Mellencamp. She also got an exclusive with Garry Trudeau, the creator of the newspaper comic strip Doonesbury on its 50th anniversary in 2018. It was an easy “get” since they’ve been married since June 14, 1980. They have three children and two grandchildren.

Still, though the topic of that personal piece she did a couple of months ago she’d discussed before, it was amazingly affecting. Jane Pauley turns 70 on October 31, the same birthday as the late John Candy.

Consume the news for every viewpoint

The need to know

I was on a Zoom meeting with some guys at church in September. The question was how do we consume the news. As I’ve said here before, I read a lot of newsfeeds from various sources.

Some are mainstream, such as the New York Times, Boston Globe, LA Times, and Washington Post. Some are progressive, such as Truthout and the Daily Kos. I consume a lot of conservative material, such as Daily Signal and Red State.

Oh, and there are non-news sources that often have news stories such as Thomas Industries, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and NatGeo. I’ve discovered that I can read about the exact same unlying facts, and discover that the conclusions are quite different.

This explains why I can never seem to keep up with my email. Initially, I subscribed so that I could peruse a balance of articles. I want to be a good, informed citizen. Of course, I come to these with my own biases, my own POV, but I’m willing to be convinced that I’m wrong. And even if I disagree, it might be a good piece for blog fodder.

Since I started working the Census, it’s been more skimming and less reading. It is especially true with the daily newspaper, which doesn’t take that long to read, even on Sunday. Yet it tends to pile up periodically.

Televsion

And TV news is worse. One guy in my group noted that by the time he sees the evening news – he watches ABC- he’s already gotten the gist of most of the stories presented. Largely true for me as well. I record both NBC and CBS, but I tend to fast forward through the stuff I’ve already sussed out. This is especially true of the unfortunate narratives of fires and floods.

Sometimes, there is a story after the first commercial break that’s unfamiliar to me. The later stories often highlight a twist I didn’t foresee. NBC has a series called Inequality in America. It has features about the digital divide or Americans going to Mexico to get COVID-related medications. I need more than Joe Friday “just the facts.” Context matters too.

When my wife was away on a recent Sunday visiting her mom, I partook in something I seldom do. I binge-watched. It was the previous week of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, plus JEOPARDY! I need to alternate; it keeps my mind in balance.

A recent CBS News poll asked, “When you get the news these days, do you feel…?”
Misled 63%
Angry 56%
Informed 53%
Anxious 46%
Confused 35%

I say now that maybe after the election, I’ll cut back. This is probably a lie. No matter who wins on November 3, I’ll still have an apparently unquenchable need to know.

How do you consume the news? By this, I don’t mean that you get info from “the Internet” or “Facebook”, but WHAT on the Internet, WHO on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram.  

Holes in the commercial TV schedule

cricket

How_to_Marry_a_MillionaireWith all the cable and streaming services out there, I’m nevertheless still fascinated by the programming choices on the three commercial TV networks I grew up with, ABC, CBS, and NBC. Most recently I noticed that Raiders of the Lost Ark was one of five movies filling the CBS Sunday night lineup in the month of May 2020.

Once upon a time, showing movies on prime time commercial television was de rigeur. According to my TV bible, How To Marry a Millionaire, starring Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, and Betty Grable, was the first, airing on NBC on September 23, 1961. Gone With The Wind aired in two parts in early November 1976 and received at least a 47 rating/66 share of the market, comparable with Super Bowl broadcasts, percentage-wise.

Of course, the Wizard of Oz was shown on CBS for years. I watched it several times. But it wasn’t until I finally saw it in color in 1970 that I finally GOT it. The 1964 and 1965 airings were in the top 20 of the most viewed films on television. It’s why so much of the dialogue pops into my conversation: “What have you LEARNED, Dorothy?”

Now, I’m talking about theatrical releases. there were also a ton of made-for-TV movies, such as The Day After (1983), Helter Skelter (1976), and The Burning Bed (1984), all of which I watched at the time. There was also Little Ladies of the Night (1977), which I never even heard of, but was #2 on the list, at least as of 2009.

Play-by-play

The schedule for CBS seems to have been most impacted by the coronavirus because their schedule has been most dependent on sports. Instead of showing the March Madness of college basketball, they’ve shown reruns of previous games. The Masters golf tournament in April provides the opportunity to see last year’s final round AGAIN, but with Tiger Woods doing the commentary. Nah.

As John Green pointed out, a lot of the thrill of watching a sporting event is NOT knowing the outcome. Back in the day – i.e., last year – I would DVR the World Series games and watch them in the early morning, being sure not to look at my email, the Internet generally, or live TV.

John Green found himself watching the 2012 Italian rugby finals because who knows who won the 2012 Italian rugby finals? I’ll admit I viewed the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series recently. Instead of that, maybe I should watch cricket, which I haven’t seen since my honeymoon in 1999. Or Australian rules football. Hey, they’re playing baseball in Taiwan; I’d watch that!

National/local news: Megyn Kelly, blackface

Fox News Says Megyn Kelly’s Blackface Comments Not Racist Enough to Get Old Job Back.

Megyn KellyIf you’re in the United States, you might be familiar with Megyn Kelly. She was a news personality for Fox News from 2004 to 2017. She was a panelist at one of the Republican “debates”, where she had a bit of a row with one of the candidates, the one who ended up getting the nomination.

I imagine it’s why she was hired by NBC to be their “conservative female journalist.” On her short-lived Sunday evening show, she interviewed conspiracy nut Alex Jones, which was not a popular move.

Then she was given the third hour of the four-hour block of the TODAY show, but she never fit in thematically, or, apparently, personally. Her rating were disastrous.

When she was in a discussion about Halloween and described that using blackface had been considered acceptable when she was growing up, a couple things happened. One was that she was heavily criticized, especially by her NBC colleagues.

She gave up an apology, acknowledging the painful legacy, but diminishing her statement by mentioning how she tended not being “politically correct.” She lost her post as host of the 9 a.m. hour of the “Today” show.

I wish there had been a bit more of that explanation, not merely that it was “offensive.” CBS News Sunday Morning provided Blackface: A cultural history of a racist art form.

Borowitz of the New Yorker, wrote, satirically, Fox News Says Megyn Kelly’s Blackface Comments Not Racist Enough to Get Old Job Back.

The other reaction was from where she grew up, which happens to be Delmar, Albany County, NY. Students from her high school alma mater condemned Kelly’s comments, saying she was not accurately describing their town.

One prominent Albany Law School grad complained that, largely based on her race-baiting arguments on Fox, the law school shamefully put Kelly, class of 1995, on the cover of its alumni magazine, hosted her book signing, and had her speak at a graduation.

Ivan Rodat, who went to high school with Megyn Kelly wrote a measured response in Blackface in the ’Burbs.

A good friend of mine told me that the family now lives in the house Megyn Kelly grew up in. I only recently learned that when NBC first signed Kelly, the network wanted the current owners to “meet cute” the former resident. That was, to say the least, a non-starter.

N is for watching American network news

If I wanted to know what was trending on Twitter, I’d have gone to that platform.

Network newsI have been watching the network news for a long time, going back to the 1960s, with Chet Huntley and David Brinkley on NBC and Walter Cronkite on CBS. For you not from the US, these were legendary journalists.

Currently, I watch two network news programs. And by “watch”, I mean, record to view afterward. The reason? Commercials, the majority of which are for medicines that must be prescribed by a physician. They’re for all sorts of ailments that I didn’t know I had or that even existed until I saw the ads, diseases generally designated by initials.

First I watch CBS News. They used to have a solid anchor, Scott Pelley, now 61, but he was pushed out after six years for low ratings.

After an interim period, he was replaced by Jeff Glor, a forty-something guy with a boyish face from upstate New York. But the real change is now, at the top of the broadcast, they summarize the news in 60 seconds so you don’t actually have to watch it. And the network is still in third place.

Then I watch the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. He was the weekend guy who replaced Brian Williams when Williams was suspended for six months for “misrepresented events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003.” I usually zap through the first half of the NBC news unless they’re covering a different story. They tend to differentiate more after the first commercial.

I gave up on ABC News years ago. It was my go-to network when Peter Jennings anchored before he died in 2005. But by the time Diane Sawyer was in the chair, the network was telling me what was trending on Twitter. If I wanted to know what was trending on Twitter, I’d have gone to that platform. I’ve not seen the broadcast since David Muir took over.

I watch other news and read other sources, and here’s why. Some people don’t believe the news at all and don’t watch. I have a healthy suspicion, so I watch/read a LOT of it, including a variety of online versions of the print news. I feel that, as a librarian, I cannot NOT be informed.

Arthur wrote a post which linked to a video, Why obvious lies make great propaganda. Hint: it wasn’t, initially, about DJT. He also cites an article, How Your Brain Tricks You Into Believing Fake News, and it’s totally credible. I’ve recently spent a good amount of time with such people; intelligent, basically kind, and believing things that were demonstratively untrue.

For ABC Wednesday