| EDITOR'S LETTER
What is up with these CNN newscasters? Besides the obvious (they don't report the news and even apologized like the New York Times did for not questioning the war in Iraq more), they are really having an image crisis. Increasingly good-looking with capped teeth, their newscasters smile too much and every guest—even if they are a CNN staff member—is thanked heartily after each interview. Isn't that a fairly new development? Are they trying to hide the ugly truth with an everything-is-rosy attitude?
Carlos Watson has the most dazzling smile of all. His new show which kicked off right before the election is called OFF-TOPIC, and he interviewed Heidi Klum and
Shaq. What a great time to go "off-topic" and divert attention from the tragedy of the election unfolding. For Chrissakes, even Aaron Brown has gotten the new blue-white chompers put in. They look O.K. on Tweety-Bird-impersonator, Paula Zahn (incidentally, Zahn is German for “tooth” and “cog”), but show-bizzy teeth caps in Aaron's friendly potato face look bizarre. And I'm certainly no prude, but aren't false eyelashes (Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsome) and lip-gloss (Kelly Wallace) a bit much for NEWSCASTERS? Come on, I'm a drag queen so I know good and well that trends in cosmetics may come and go but lip gloss clearly signifies “place dick here” or “my lips, like my pussy, are moist.” (On the other hand, for some inexplicable reason, CNN broke with their own beauty trend when they sent poor moose-like Candy Crowley on the campaign trail with no make-up artist! And if anyone could use a little help, it's Candy.)
Their newest golden boy is Rick Sanchez. I've always marveled at former golden boy, Bill Hemmer, whose inane chatter strikes me as preposterous. For example: after the lovely Soledad O'Brien covered a story about Egyptian artifacts, Bill cheerily chimed in with "Good history, Soledad." What makes it good or bad? It's history, you dunce! But Bill's ditzy homecoming king personality is infinitely preferable to the sugar-coated conservative bias of Rick Sanchez, which is driven home with the most emphatic, showboatin' hand and arm movements I've ever seen on anyone reporting outside of a sports segment. Rick must resonate with their (increasingly conservative?) audience since his career is on the rise, filling in for Paula and making more and more frequent appearances. He often interrupts guests, and he's chock full of those corny, archaic interjections (e.g., “in as much as” and “in point of fact”), which lead you to believe that he is very much in love with the sound of his own voice. He's so desperate attempt to act “newscaster-y,” I wonder if he can even hear the guests he engages in debates with? Often, he’s seen looking away from the interviewee when the camera cuts back to him. (As his last name indicates Spanish roots, could it be he is so desperate to honk-ify himself that he overcompensates?) Plenty of slang, too, to make it all conversational and accessible--to morons!
And what about impartiality, formerly the hallmark of newscasting? Forget it! Two young guys, just back from Iraq, were being interviewed by Rick and described the rampant anti-American sentiment there. Sanchez butts in with, “Well, we don't really like hearing that when we’re over there trying to free ’em.” We’re not trying to “free ’em,” hon, we’re trying to occupy them so we can steal their oil—that’s my opinion, anyway. But should HIS opinion really be broadcast AS NEWS? So you “don't like hearing that.” You booked these guests as authorities on Iraq, and now you don't like hearing the truth? When discussing Palestine with a guest, the Clinton-Barak peace plan was brought up and Rick interrupted with, “I must say it’s a pretty good plan.” To whom? To Palestinians? To Israelis? Or to Americans like you who don't want to hear the truth and don't live there?
Look, I know that news shows are still show-biz and need ratings, etc., but these trends, on CNN alone (I don't watch much else) are disturbing. Are we so shallow that we can’t even stand to watch a newscaster who hasn’t been prettified? And we’ll put up with rotten reporting as long as the reporters look good? Give me stodgy, un-glamorous, impartial Walter Cronkite any day!
Oops! Gotta’ run or I’ll be late for my Botox appointment!
LADY BUNNY is downtown New York’s most successful comedienne, emcee, singer, songwriter, actress, and DJ. Most famously, she is the founder, organizer, and hostess of Wigstock, the outrageous festival of drag and music that delighted up to 40,000 New Yorkers every Labor Day for nearly 20 years. Catch her weekly blog or hire her high-haired ass at www.ladybunny.net.