I agree she was a journalist early on. But even before the specials, she turned from a journalist into a celebrity interviewer--treating world leaders like movie stars.
The Morley Safer comment I mentioned was when during a televised interview with president-elect Jimmy Carter, she gave him, and fellow guest Streisand, an on-screen tour of her apartment! She also, infamously, finished that Carter interview by saying "be wise with us, Governor. Be good to us." She jumped the shark then, if not earlier.
Ms. Walters set an example for any of us that wanted to be on-air journalists vs. news readers. Her style, although many times berated, was an example of a woman, in her day and age, being wise enough to know to "dummy down" to be able to stay on the air. She also showed the class that allowed her to get interviews from world leaders even some top male journalists couldn't get. All of this while balancing difficult family dynamics and setting a standard few celebrity women have been able to achieve.
You obviously have never watched her interviews with people like Fidel Castro, Anwar Sadat and other notable people, otherwise you wouldn't call the work she's done "crap." You sound like a man with few real accomplishments and so it's hard to watch a woman do so very well with her life...
Well Adrienne, she did get big interviews--by lobbing softball questions. Larry King does the same thing--I find both of them not worth listening to. (As I noted above I find most television news useless--2 minutes of pictures with some superficial words attached.)
Mountain woman: I am old enough to have watched the Sadat interview when it was first broadcast. I said MOST of her work was crap. The Sadat interview was one of the few exceptions, because it actually made news (Sadat announced he would go to Jerusalem).
That said, getting a big name for an interview, and actually getting anything new or interesting from the interview, are two entirely different things. As for criticizing Walters because she's a woman, read my posts again. I think the same of Brokaw, Williams, Couric et al--regardless of gender.
Well informed people read newspapers, magazines and books--people like you watch tv, and presumably feel better about your life by identifying with Barbara Wawa (you probably love Oprah too). Turn the TV off for a while, and check out some serious news online (left, right or center: the Nation, the New Republic, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, the New York Times etc.). You'll be glad you did.
Ha! I think out of everything's she's said over the years, "Be Wise with us, be good to us," has to be up there with Dan Rather's "Courage!" signoff in the pantheon of the lame and cryptic. I actually agree with your comments re: Miss Walters. I rarely watch her celebrity Oscar broadcasts, for example. But your suggestion that well informed people read and "people like you" watch TV is leaving out all of us who do both. Walters has what all great television personalities have -- the ability to project themselves almost physically through the camera and into our living rooms, and she alternates between lobbing softballs and curveballs at her subjects. I've heard Barbara Walters ask tough questions. Whether she gets an answer or not is not within her control.
It's because our society has such incredibly low standards for women. All of a sudden here's a women who can speak and string two cohesive sentences together and everyone's amazed. Even a crumb can be a feast when you're starving for something. Barbara, Oprah and Katie aren't nowhere nearly as important or as influential as they make themselves believe.