- The Washington Times - Friday, August 16, 2002

Jill Arrington's credentials as a CBS college football reporter are being questioned after she flashed a little skin in the September issue of For Him Magazine.

Arrington plays a serious journalist on CBS, and now that seriousness is in jeopardy because of a four-picture spread that exposes her midriff.

Serious journalists do not expose their bellybuttons to the masses.

Instead, they wear sweaters. They say, "Courage." They go nuts after the U.S. Open spills into their newscast. They seek an answer to life's eternal question, which is, "What's the frequency, Kenneth?"

Now whenever Arrington conducts one of those hurry-up sideline interviews with a coach, viewers no longer can accept the exchanges for what they are, which is a bundle of revealing information.

Arrington asks: "What do you think, coach?"

To which the coach says: "I think we need to play better."

As you can tell, Arrington has undermined the seriousness of those words. The next time a coach reveals to Arrington that his team needs to play better, you will be obligated to dismiss it because of her somewhat skimpy outfits in a magazine.

To be fair, you see more skin at the beach than in Arrington's photographs. Sometimes you see more skin along the aisles of a grocery store.

You do not want to see some of this skin either. Not all skin is equal. Some people have rolls of skin, hanging every which way, and others have worn-out skin, and still others have pockmarked skin.

Arrington seems to have very nice skin, at least as far as it goes in the magazine.

Unfashionable as it may be to point out, Arrington is a nice-looking, 30-year-old woman who does not seem to have an interest in downplaying her good looks.

There is nothing really wrong with that. This is television, after all.

Television is a picture medium, and television's research indicates that America prefers to be kept informed by attractive women, with a few tired exceptions.

If this were not the case, the occasional 300-pound woman would show up on a college football or NFL broadcast. There must be at least one 300-pound woman in America who is qualified to ask a coach what he thinks. But there are no 300-pound sports broadcasters on television. In fact, there is not even one 200-pound female sports broadcaster on television.

This is just the way it is. What can you do? People are attracted to attractive people, and it is no secret that the attractive have an advantage over the unattractive in the game of life. It cuts both ways. Michael Jordan would not have been the toast of Madison Avenue if he looked like Gheorghe Muresan.

Arrington is no dummy, and no hypocrite. She knows she is where she is in part because of her good looks, and she is not inclined to pretend otherwise. She leaves the pretending to Paula Zahn, one of CNN's so-called serious journalists who "objected" to the outlet's initial promotion of her as a babe. It must have been tough on her to embrace hagdom for a day.

It seems a number of women coming up in the post-feminist age do not find beauty and brains to be mutually exclusive ideals. Why, you can be beautiful as well as brainy, plus have fun with it all.

The sniping toward Arrington emanates from the dried-up crowd of a bygone era, forever mouthing the quaint words of the past. It is sort of amusing, not unlike watching an old bra-burning rally from the '60s on the History Channel.

The dried-up crowd is assuming an awful lot in 2002, starting with the assumption that anyone accepts the journalistic seriousness of a sideline interview with a coach.

The sideline interview is merely one element of the entertainment package, and a small element at that. Arrington and her kind are there to provide the eye candy, along with a certain energy and enthusiasm.

It is not a bad job. You get to be close to the action on the field. You get to conduct three or four 15-second lightweight interviews a game. You get to accrue a kind of fame, which leads to a photo shoot.

None of it is intended to be serious. It is just the opposite. It is good clean, American fun, except among the fuddy-duddies.

Good for Arrington.

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