Laura Ingraham is getting a bad rap for this video, courtesy of Gawker and Harry Shearer. Which is too bad, because it doesn’t exactly show the sort of arbitrary rough behavior one would hope for from anyone with any degree of celebrity. She’s really not bad at all when you note that she’s clearly pointing out the things that need to be fixed. She doesn’t seem arbitrary.
I can only speak as a sometime guest, but television news is the most chaotic arrangement I can think of.
Everyone is ridiculously young: It’s not unusual to speak to about 4 or 5 people who have to be (at the oldest) about 23 years old prior to getting on your segment. Everyone is working on a bunch of shows, and there are usually a small number of grown-ups involved with all of them. Decisions are made at the last minute — in part because of breaking news, in part because some folks are just too busy/hesitant to decide what to go with.
Booking happens that morning, usually done by a strange alliance between someone who has a long list of people who the show can invite, and a 21 year old with a communications degree and dreams of becoming a host. (This latter person will become the former in a few years, that is, if she doesn’t get disillusioned and go to law school, get married, or go into PR. [And yes, “she” because there are way more women than men in television.])
The person who takes all the flack and looks ridiculous if the show doesn’t go well is the host. That host is surrounded by these twenty-somethings, the technical crew, and the occasional adult. Sometimes the producers don’t know when to stop speaking into the host’s ear. Sometimes the teleprompter goes on the fritz. Someone misses something. Research (that is usually a bunch of articles pulled together by a twenty-something) is forgotten.
All of these things add to the pressure you feel when you’ve got to speak for 5 to 10 minutes to America’s largest television audience, about something you might not be up to date on.
In other words, I’m surprised she’s so collected. She’s not as chipper and happy as that old Katie Couric tape — who was lambasted for being mean, but frankly, ain’t that bad.
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