Dorothy Fuldheim vs Tomi Lehren (or) Content vs Presentation
As a child, I was aware of all of the local news personalities. There was one singular character that wasn't like anyone else on TV and that was Dorothy Fuldheim. She had worked in journalism her whole life, but didn't work on TV until she was 54. At that time, she had already logged 30 years in the media business. It was a different time, of course, being 1947, but she continued on and worked on-air until the ripe old age of 91. (She passed in 1989 at the age of 96.) The picture above is an archive photo from cleveland.com when Fuldheim was in her 80s.
Now I don't have a lot of clear memories of Fuldheim, she was on channel 5 and I preferred channel 8. But toward the end of her career, she could refer to her 60 years of experience on the job to form her opinions. A young Fuldheim had even tricked Hitler into granting her a short interview.
60 years of experience and most of the controversy that surrounded her career centered on her speaking her mind. Speaking her mind based on experience, what a concept.....
2017 is the year of reckoning for sexual harassment. Not a day goes by without a news personality being in the news for either being on the giving end, or on the receiving end, of sexual harassment. FoxNews seems like it was a borderline cult a few years back. But something Megyn Kelly said made me question the whole concept of institutional harassment.
I'm not the biggest fan of Fox News, to me they are too overproduced. That's just my personal opinion, but there's something to be said about the concept of typecasting over there at Fox. Here's a screenshot of some shows on Fox, taken today.
Notice any similarities? First of all, let's start with Laura Ingraham. They put her in a sexy dress, then airbrushed the hell out of the photo. Like her or hate her, Ingraham deserves better than to be packaged next to the interchangeable parts on her right. You can explain it away and say "well, that's just Fox News."
Is it? Let's go on over to CNN and type in the letter G.
Notice any similarities here? Apparently CNN prefers brunettes. Now of course I took representative screenshots to emphasize my point. If you simply use the eye test, you notice trends and patterns. Even the smartest women on the news channels are packaged.
Which brings us to the most egregious example of the day, Tomi Lahren. The Blaze decided to scour the internet and find the hottest conservative on the web and bring her to TV with her months and months of experience, hosting her own show at 23. Fired at 25 for not towing the company line, Tomi is in trouble for speaking her mind on the Hannity show yesterday, for saying "It’s Wrong To Believe Every Sex Assault Claim."
Does Tomi Lahren have Freedom of Speech in America? Absolutely. Then what am I so upset about, as a Free Speech site? Tomi Lahren was born in 1992, 3 years after Dorothy Fuldheim passed away. In one generation, all the gains in the newsroom made by the Dorothy Fuldheims of the world have been erased by the concept of presentation. Instead of finding the women with the most experience, skill, or knowledge, men have chosen the women who fit a certain caricature then asked them to read a teleprompter. Boobs, hair, and teeth can all be fixed. Hey pretty girl, what's your opinion?
If a good looking right-winger applies at CNN, they get weeded out. And vice-versa on Fox. Maybe I shouldn't pick on Tomi Lahren, maybe she truly is an independent thinker. Or maybe not.....
Go on back to the Blaze website, there's a guy who looks just like me named Pat Gray. Well, not exactly like me, but a type. Frumpy, grumpy, middle-aged dudes with faces built for radio. How's the radio medium holding up in 2017? The point is Pat is a pretty independent thinker. Pat also got his start thanks to Glenn Beck. Not to be a jerk, because insulting Pat is like insulting myself, but he has a certain look that doesn't fit the narrative of packaged news. And he doesn't have a Matt Lauer-level of charisma or good looks. His career is based on content.
I'm trying to find my focus, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that corporate newsrooms are just like any other product being peddled. Viewer studies and q scores dictate what is being sold to the public. Corporations with an agenda make the presentation more palpable for the casual viewer. What does the viewer want? According to studies, charismatic men and beautiful women. As the charismatic men are caught harassing the beautiful women, look for corporations to, instead of fixing the fundamental problem of structure, now look for charismatic men, who know their limits. And maybe cast a wider net for beautiful young women. But the fact remains that the newsrooms will still be built based around a certain formula.
Fixing the problem apparently doesn't include a more representative cross section of America.
Editors Note: In case you haven't guessed, I'm the writer and the editor for this story. That set-up is true for 90% of the stories. On a personal level, I can't concentrate on what I'm trying to say and instead of scrubbing the concept I'm going to leave it here. Maybe time will help my clarity. Thanks.