Just caught Fox News’ Harris Faulkner on her “Outnumbered Overtime” show. I’ve decided she really does pose a threat to the disrepute in which so many Americans hold much of the news media.
Miss Faulkner, 52, host of “Outnumbered Overtime,” actually listens to the answers of the people she interviews, understands the implications thereof and asks follow-up questions based on those answers.
This is no small thing in TV newsland.
Fox’s Dana Perino is another one who listens, digests and follows up. Ms. Perino, 45, served as press secretary in President George W. Bush’s White House, where shrinking violets did not grow well but charging bulls weren’t welcome either.
Like Ms. Perino, Ms. Faulkner doesn’t think she needs to expose various parts of her body to keep viewers’ attention; she relies on intellect, precise enunciation and that intangible called “presence” to get the job done.
Fox News’ Chris Wallace, 70, has long been guilty of the same transgression against the prevailing standards and practices of sloppy pseudo-journalism. You would think he’d have set the standard for what passes for TV journalism, but it’s actually gotten less objective and penetrating despite his influence.
Brit Hume, 74, during his long-time Fox anchor role, also listened, understood, followed up. But his example didn’t raise the standard for the anchor role across much of the rest of America’s flickering wasteland.
More recently, on millions of post-vacuum tube era screens across the country, Bret Baier, 47, looking like a friendly bear, has been smiling, asking questions, listening, digesting then challenging the answer with a low-decibel firmness and no hint condescension or superciliousness. Tucker Carlson, 48, does his part to raise the bar, coming off convincingly as smart, as persistent as a hungry tiger in follow-ups and hardly reluctant to draw blood if necessary or just for the fun of it.
Ms. Faulkner and the others mentioned here manage to exude excellence without coming off as cheerleaders for causes or, in most cases, for a worldview.
Imagine if this sort of thing caught on with the people who hire and promote on-air “talent.”
It could raise the bar for TV news.
Yes, I know how dreadful a thought that is for those who cherish the second- and third-rate in news and views.