By Dorcas S
The Rupert Murdoch-owned FOX News Network has been in the news of late. The unabashedly pro-Trump AND paranoidly anti-Obama cable news network lost its Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes and its highest-rated highest paid host Bill O’Reilly – both to charges of sexual harassment – all within one year.
FOX News prided itself on its conservative rightwing-leaning perspective; calling itself a counterweight to the “liberal mainstream media” exemplified by Cable News Network (CNN) and the other three traditional networks – ABC, CBS and NBC.
Aside from its rightwing leaning perspective, FOX News is also known for its mostly blonde, young and attractive female anchors. The network has on its staff, several former beauty contestants including the 1989 Ms. America and Stanford graduate Gretchen Carlson. Ms. Carlson is the one who sued and won a $20mn settlement against Roger Ailes for sexual harassment.
Megan Kelly, who until her departure was the network’s highest profile female anchor, is a graduate of the elite Newhouse School of Public Communications program at Syracuse University. Aside from her looks, Ms. Kelly is also a lawyer (Albany Law School) and that background shows during interviews – as then-candidate Donald Trump found out during the August 6, 2015 GOP Primaries’ debate.
So while the Murdoch/Ailes approach to TV news recognized the media as a visual one, the duo also recognized that beauty without brains could only work for so long before viewers/listeners tuned out.
On the other end of the spectrum, stuck in “thighland”, as evidenced by a short video by KenyaBytes titled “Top 7 News anchors who sleep with sponsors for money”, are Kenya’s newscasters.
Listening to the likes of Anne Kiguta, Caroline Mutoko, Betty Kyalo, Terry Anne Chebet etc. interview politicians and public personalities such as William Ruto, David Ndii, Raila Odinga, Mr. Kenyatta and other opinion leaders is a tortuous exercise in vacuous banality interspersed with annoying attempts at self-deprecation and silly giggling.
DP Ruto: The stock of imported maize will cover the shortfall…..depending on reliability of rain.
Ann Kiguta: Mmh Hmm….okay.
This instead of the more pointed follow-up such as: What does the persistent shortages of maize say about your government’s ability to plan for contingencies such as inclement weather?
In the same interview, DP Ruto goes on to list several billion shillings worth of foreign-government funded projects without any questions/interjections about the excessive borrowing AND the resultant misuse/abuse of these foreign loans – all characteristics of Jubilee – from Ms. Kiguta!
Caroline Mutoko: Uhuru, give God something to work with – this is a 2015 piece by the supposedly objective “Caro”.
Anne Kiguta: What is the difference between a “Manifesto” and “Implementation Plan” (paraphrased) or “How do you expect to end extra-judicial killings”?
Basic research and preparation for the interview would have sharpened Ms. Kiguta’s questions; a skill set most learn in high school! “Extra-judicial killing”, almost by definition, is a fundamental violation of human rights.
Again the ability to conduct basic research would have precluded Ms. Kiguta from such an obvious question.
To reiterate a universal truism, television is a visual media. The mandarins at KTN, NTV and Citizen TV obviously realize that. However, they (along with their prized anchors) somehow fail to realize that visual beauty (a) is skin deep and (b) without brains soon becomes self-evident – quick. Also into that mix are questions about morality, ethics and values.
Americans eventually discovered the disconnect between the realities inside the executive suites of FOX News – involving the executives and female anchors – and the network’s pontification about conservatism, family values and values. The board, headed by Rupert Murdoch (who could not explain the disconnect) took action and fired the Chairman/CEO and star host/anchor.
The challenge the likes of Anne Kiguta, Julie Gichuru, Caroline Mutoko and several Kenyan female newscasters have when dealing with the ethics and morality is the uncomfortable and unspoken realities of their personal lives and the lives of the paramours – past, present and rumored. The video alluded to above links seven high-profile female newscasters with powerful and well-connected personalities – all the way to State House.
These ladies should realize that their physical beauty only lasts as long as it takes the boss’s forever always wandering eyes to spot the next made-up and weaved twentysomething!