There was a whole lotta malakatude this week. There was all the repeal the 14th Amendment nonsense and the pro-Prop 8 crowd and blah and blah and blah. In any event, the candidates were plentiful but I decided to go with someone whose malakatude is of a more recent vintage: Tom Shales. Shales is the Pulitzer prize winning teevee columnist for the Washington Post. I used to be a fan of Shales’ snarky and funny writing style but he’s gone totally wackadoodle on the subject of Christiane Amanpour, which is why he’s the malaka of the week.
Shales’ creeping malakatude began with ABC’s initial announcement of Christiane as the host of This Week. I thought it was a inspired pick: Christiane is a star and struck me as a good choice to occupy the chair that belonged to the great David Brinkley for so many years. Shales let loose with an astonishingly bigoted rant and concocted a specious list of objections: she’s ethnically Iranian, a Washington outsider and, most sinister to Tommy Malaka, insufficiently pro-Israel. That’s right, folks, Christiane Amanpour has criticized the Israeli government on occasion. Horrors.
The Shales-Amanpour controversy exploded anew with Christiane’s first show. Tom Tom panned it. I didn’t see it so it’s harder for me to comment on his overall review BUT this bit is preposterous nonsense:
Perhaps in keeping with the newly globalized program, the commendable
“In Memoriam” segment ended with a tribute not to American men and
women who died in combat during the preceding week but rather, said
Amanpour in her narration, in remembrance of “all of those who died in
war” in that period. Did she mean to suggest that our mourning extend
to members of the Taliban?
As many others have pointed out, this is patent, bigoted nonsense that can be refuted by Amapour’s own life story. Let’s see, someone whose family fled Iran because of their repressive policies against women is suddenly pro-Taliban? Yeah, right. Her “crime” is not being a Bibi Netanyahu-style Likudnik who thinks the Israeli government is incapable of error.
The thing that makes this episode so depressing is the source of this hateful bile: a journalist whose work I’ve admired in the past. Shame on you, Tom. You should really know better. Of course,since the ADL has become the Anti-Defamation against anyone but Muslims and Arabs League, shit like this shouldn’t surprise me.
So, Tom, I hope you pull your head out of your ass and try and judge Christiane Amanpour by her work and not by your fantasies about a woman who you called “an international fancy pants.” I think it’s refreshing that ABC picked someone who will bring an outsider’s perspective to the Sunday chat show circuit. Besides, if there is a God and she’s a woman, she sounds like Christiane Amanpour.
I hereby award Tom Shales the Pulitzer prize for egregious malakatude.