what’s wrong with meredith vieira?

Posted on Thursday 29 May 2008

I admit it. Katie Couric was the worst interviewer I ever watched. Watching her interview someone was like fingernails on a chalkboard for me. She always seemed more into herself and her questions than in how the person responded. Her interviews always sounded like a couple who would be getting a divorce within the next year. But the worst part was her interrupting constantly, so her interviewees always talked too fast in hopes of getting their point out before her next contentious interruption. When I heard that she was moving to nightly news, I was glad. I didn’t exactly love Dan Rather, so she might as well have been headed for al Jezeera. She was gone and I wasn’t going to miss her.

Her replacement, Meredith Vieira, was fine with me. I don’t really watch Today myself, but it plays in my house in the mornings and I don’t get a stiff neck like I did with Katie Couric. If she’s doing an interview, I watch her occasionally and think about the interviewee, not her, which is as it should be. My only thoughts about her before this morning have been to wonder if she is like Ann Rice, never going home. Seems like she’s always on t.v. somewhere – morning, some game show, wherever.

This morning I showed up for the Scott McClellan interview. And there was Meredith Vieira channelling Katie Couric – contentious, comtemptuous, frowning, interrupting. Yuk. The poor guy held his own, but it was only because of his years of experience with the Washington Press attack dogs. I can’t imagine she could have gotten more in his way than she did. It sounded like she was out to cover all the Administration Talking Points in the course of the interview. That aside, she was doing exactly what Couric does, getting so tied up in her own questions that she lost the thread of his narrative [as did he]. So I felt deprived of knowing what Scott McClellan thinks by the intrusive Meredith Vieira. I guess I’ll have to wait for Kieth Olbermann tonight to find out.

Best I can tell, Scott McClellan has done some real introspection about his days there at the White House. Instead of hearing about his being vengeful, or out for a buck, or a new lefty, or whatever other nasty motive can be pinned on his shoulders, I’d like to hear what he, himself thinks about his experience of being the front man for BushCo. We’re all smart enough to figure out what he’s about here. We don’t need his interviewers out to make tough, just to let him talk. 

I’m thinking that Meredith Vieira may need to be promoted to being Katie Couric’s co-host on CBS News [or maybe al Jezeera has an opening]. Or, more likely, maybe this was a big interview for her and she was just trying way too hard…

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