Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Rotten(berg) to Andrea Mitchell

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

"Frankly, I don't think it was luck. I must have made 100 phone calls." Andrea Mitchell

NBC's Andrea Mitchell wrote a book. Philadelphia Broad Street Review's Dan Rottenberg trashed it. The Philadelphia Inquirer's Dan Rubin of Blinq spoke with Mitchell and fulsomely reported on the fray.

People are commenting on Blinq. Including Dan Rottenberg, who says,

I'd quibble with your implication (or Andrea's) that I was motivated by personal animus. On the contrary, I thought I clearly indicated that I think she's a terrific TV reporter. I was genuinely disappointed by her book because she was someone I admired and liked, at least until I read her book. But hey, your readers who click on my text will figure that out for themselves...
Sorry, I'm not buying Dan Rottenberg's tap dance here. And I agree with Dan Rubin's piece (phew, dueling Dans.)

Andrea Mitchell's physical appearance has Nothing to do with her journalistic ability and gravitas. Nor does her first marriage. Nor, for that matter, does her current marriage. Or shoe size. Or hair color, for cryin out loud.

As Andrea pointed out to Dan Rubin: she wrote a professional memoir, not a personal autobiography.

Mitchell has had a front row seat to a boatload of modern events. She can offer us unique perspective on journalism and history. Who cares about a difficult early marriage or her former appearance or what she ate for breakfast?

And those who bother to care are naive at best, venal at worst. Most competitive journalists have to change their looks to make it at the network TV level. That's showbiz.

But keep in mind: the best plastic surgery in the world can't implant intelligence. Integrity. Determination. Courage. Ambition. All of which Andrea has always had, no matter her looks or personal circumstances.

I know this empirically. We share an alma mater. We were neighbors during her first marriage. We were colleagues in her KYW days. I'm an NBC News viewer and a fan. Of course I've noticed her appearance changing over the years. And I've thought, Good for her, it must feel great after all her hard work to be successful, accomplished and attractive.

Just for the record, a number of Boomer brunettes are going blonde. It's more flattering to an older complexion and easier to hide the gray. Okay, Rottenberg, the big secret's out on that one. And by the way, many people not in showbiz have some work done to improve their looks.

As far as I'm concerned, if you've got brains and credibility, your appearance is your own business.

I've always admired Dan Rottenberg. His writing is lean and mean, provocative and evocative. He seems dedicated, ethical, a genuine seeker of truth. And also a realist.

So I have to wonder why this fellow Boomer and journalist who claims to "admire and like" Andrea Mitchell would poke such a big stick at a few personal omissions about her life, which are genuinely irrelevant to the public at large ... and certainly to the recounting of her journalistic career.

Anybody who knows how to Google can find detailed information on Mitchell or just about anybody else, especially well known figures.

So if Rottenberg's review is not a reflection of "personal animus" then what is it? I'd really like to know. Because it looks like Mr. Rottenberg's lost his objectivity--or ditched it--because he's privy to some dishy details Ms. Mitchell chose not to share.



Blogger Daniel Rubin said...

why don't you post this whole thing as a comment anyway??

1:59 PM  
Blogger Sally Swift said...


2:21 PM  
Blogger PuckPan said...

I'm sure Rottenberg's review was based on some personal animus (or maybe political animus) but doesn't that happen all the time in criticism?

Besides - to the extent his animus was based on Mitchel's treatment of her ex-husband and his children - it's an animus I agree with.

Andrea Mitchell's marrying Allan Greenspan is the female equivalent of a man dumping a loyal 60-year-old wife to marry his hot young 30-year-old big-boobed secretary.

But nobody sneers when women do that sort of thing.

1:33 PM  

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