After manning the helm of ABC’s “This Week” last Sunday for the second time since her August 1 debut, longtime foreign correspondent Christiane Amanpour continues to receive decidedly negative reviews.
Amanpour replaced George Stephanopoulos, who left his post at “This Week” in January for a new gig at “Good Morning America.” Since Amanpour was announced as Stephanopoulos’ permanent replacement, ABC has portrayed her as a fresh faced alternative to the Washington echochamber, a citizen of the world complete with a foreign accent and a well-inked passport.
Yet this reputed outsider is at this moment rumored to be staying with uber-Washington insiders Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn at their Georgetown mansion while she looks for a permanent residence in the city.
The new host has expressed her desire to bring a more international flare to the show. “I’m excited about having this platform to explore the issues that affect Americans,” she told TVnewser after her first show. “I want to open the window on the world to help with the understanding of all of the global challenges out there.” The show has even embraced a new tagline, more suited to its host’s strengths,“from all across our world to the heart of our nation’s capital.”
Tom Shales, Washington Post style columnist, was one of the many mainstream critics who railed on her debut August 1 performance, calling her “miscast,” “shrill,” and “showy” — descriptions some have criticized as sexist. His sharpest critique, however, was the accusation that Amanpour meant to give her respects to the Taliban during the show’s “In Memoriam” segment. “Perhaps in keeping with the newly globalized program, the commendable ‘In Memoriam’ segment ended with a tribute not to American men and women who died in combat during the preceding week but rather, said Amanpour in her narration, in remembrance of ‘all of those who died in war’ in that period,” he wrote. “Did she mean to suggest that our mourning extend to members of the Taliban?”
Viewer commentary after the first two shows that flooded message boards, Twitter, and Facebook, has been similarly negative. “I’ll have to find something else to watch on Sunday morning. I can’t stand to listen to the new host. I also want to know what happened to the ‘round table,’” wrote mlw777888 in the comment section on the show’s webpage. “The table that they have now is as lopsided as the opinions.”
Jdbradley123 on the same site pined for Jake Tapper’s return. “Amanpour is unwatchable and so is the show now. George Will looked like he could not wait to get out of there. Jake Tapper was doing a good job and now we get stuck with this? Amanpour can not be even remotely objective as she was fawning over everything Krugman was saying.”
Reaction on Twitter followed suit. “If I haven’t mentioned it before, Christiane Amanpour is a blithering idiot and a caricature of a journalist. What drivel,” posted MrsDigger.
Glenasbury, expressed the general tenor of the Twitter mood writing, “I know it’s only two weeks in, but I’m pretty sure Christiane Amanpour doesn’t cut it for me.”