Journalism and entertainment blur in this story of a rising cable news star who lands her dream job only to see her life unravel around her.
Camerota, co-host of CNN's morning show New Day offers an inside look at TV news, where entertainment value takes priority over almost all else. Amanda Gallo has a midlevel reporting job at a local station when she’s poached by FAIR News, a new network started by a media mogul with dreams of overcoming the partisan divide. He quickly promotes her from field reporter to host of a morning show, a role for which she is carefully made over to fit the now-ubiquitous cable news anchor image. But from the very first show she co-hosts with her prickly partner, Gallo is set back on her heels during segments that put shock value and high ratings over true reporting. The ethical dilemma is heightened as a divisive presidential campaign—pitting an accomplished Democratic candidate against a Republican reality TV star with a grudge against the media—begins to heat up. Amanda has echoes of Bridget Jones as she walks a confounding line between ambition and bewilderment. Given the current debate about cable news and how it handles divisive topics, this novel feels overly sympathetic to the plight of the anchors without meaningfully questioning their own roles in perpetuating “fake news." Despite this, it does provide a fascinating glimpse at a highly curated world driven by viewer data and advertising revenue and will likely sit well with those already leery of the way we get our information.
Though it lacks a heavy-hitting sense of purpose, this surface look at how news is made offers food for thought.