Friday, July 10, 2009

Meredith Vieira: Game Show Host

I realized today after a bit of thinking that I don't loathe Meredith Vieira. Last night, after watching her appearance on Conan from two nights ago, I loathed her, but I'm more ambivalent today. I don't loathe her, but I do loathe the fact that she plays the role of a journalist on Today. And, of course, I loathe Today. I have been boycotting it since earlier this year, as it has become less of a news show, and more of a pop show. Where else can you get the, "I'm sorry, we're out of time," card played after 2 minutes of a health care reform debate, and then get 10 uninterrupted minutes of Miss California talking about her pseudo-persecution drama? Oooh, you got stripped of your rhinestone crown due to an "unfounded" breach of contract? How awful! Go convince a 92-year-old billionaire to buy you a pony, and get over it.

What does this have to do with Rhode Island and my rage? Well, Meredith Vieira is from Lincoln, right next door to my present home town, and she tends to enrage me with her pseudo-journalistic nonsense.

How can anyone take Meredith Vieira seriously as a journalist while she continues to host the daytime edition of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? It's completely incongruous. It's like finding out that Woodward and Bernstein also wrote Beetle Bailey on the comics page. Did Edward R. Murrow moonlight as host of Family Feud (not that it existed in his time)? Now that might have been interesting. "One hundred people were surveyed, and the top four answers are concealed on the board. Here's the question: Beside communists, name an interest group that mature Americans can engage in conversation and controversy, the clash of ideas, with anywhere in the world without becoming contaminated or converted."

Back to you, Meredith. My problem with her is that she doesn't strike me as a very intelligent individual, yet she is second chair on a show that somehow continues to take itself seriously as a news program. Sure, she's affable; attractive even. It's easy to see how she has climbed the rungs of the talking head ladder. But a Susan Schmidt, she is not. She is not even a Katie Couric. The only scoop Meredith will break is an ice cream scoop during another insufferable Today "Summertime Food" segment.

So stop pretending, Meredith. Leave the journalism to the highly critical, and stick with the fluff. Stick with Millionaire.

A minor but necessary point on communication: When being interviewed, always cross your leg toward the interviewer, not away from the interviewer. It is an inclusive gesture to, if the interviewer is on your left, cross your right leg over your left toward the interviewer. On Conan the other night, Meredith crossed her left leg over her right, away from Conan, during the interview despite otherwise seeming as though she really wanted to make out with him. Talk about mixed signals; no wonder she hosts both a "news" show and a game show.

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