- The Washington Times - Friday, June 1, 2001

No news is …
"In a media landscape that has been bulldozed, transformed and recreated several times over the decades, few things have remained as remarkably constant, as unwavering in basic format, as the evening news… .
"Whats different now, of course, is that the networks newscasts no longer command the attention, and hence the power, they once did. 'The CBS Evening News, anchored by Dan Rather, draws half the share of the audience it attracted in 1981, the year Rather replaced Walter Cronkite. 'NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw has slipped 30 percent over the same period; ABCs 'World News Tonight, anchored by Peter Jennings, has declined by 35 percent, according to Nielsen figures.
"In 1994, the percentage of people who said they regularly watched a nightly network news broadcast was 60 percent; by 2000, the figure was 30 percent, according to the Pew Center for the People and the Press… . It isnt merely the news itself, its lifestyles that are working against a half-hour broadcast at 6:30 or 7 p.m. Younger viewers — the ones most coveted by advertisers — are still working or commuting when the networks air their news. Its a change that has been in the works for more than two decades."
—Paul Farhi, writing on "Nightly News Blues" in the June issue of the American Journalism Review.

Seductive feminism

"The only sense in which I was ever a feminist was in the right-wing, income-maximizing careerist sense of feminism. I think that many women allow themselves to be identified as feminists for no better reason than that they value their educations and careers. I knew very quickly that the economic aspects of feminism were unworkable… . But it was motherhood that made me realize that they were mistaken in their views of social issues as well.
"Feminism is seductive because it seems to build up a womans self-esteem and sense of self-value. It took a long time for me to figure out that winning in quarrels and dividing household chores exactly was no way to enhance my self-esteem. If my self-esteem depends on the proposition that I have never done anything wrong in my whole life, my self-esteem will always be fragile.
"A more productive view of the self is to see oneself as a gift. We are happiest when we give of ourselves. This is what love is all about."
—Jennifer Roback Morse, author of the new book, "Love and Economics," interviewed by Kathryn Jean Lopez, Tuesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Brand-name twins

"Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, 14, are … fraternal twins, not identical, but facially similar enough that if you see them side by side … you might have more than a little trouble telling them apart… .
"Various shows featuring the Olsens already run more than 30 times a week. With the addition of seven broadcasts a week of [their new Fox Family Channel sitcom] 'So Little Time, not to mention the animated show … that is in production for ABCs Saturday-morning lineup next fall, they will be on the air probably in more forms … and possibly more often than any other performer in the medium outside of music video… .
"Products bearing the names 'Mary-Kate and Ashley are, in one form or another, on track to generate in the neighborhood of $500 million in retail sales in 2001 and, if the trend holds, almost $800 million in 2002.
"Because Mary-Kate and Ashley are a brand. And not just any brand. For girls between the ages of 4 and 14 they are THE brand.
"Despite the fact that assuming you are not a girl between the ages of 4 and 14 or her parent you may have only the vaguest idea of who Mary-Kate and Ashley even are, they are a brand doing bang-up business with companies including Wal-Mart, Mattel, Harper Entertainment, News Corp, AOL Time Warner and Disney."
—Mim Udovitch, writing on "The Olsen Juggernaut," Sunday in the New York Times Magazine


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