THE IMPERFECT MIRROR by Daniel Paisner

THE IMPERFECT MIRROR

Inside Stories of Television
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Celebrity biographer Paisner (Theo and Me--a bio of Malcolm Jamal Warner; coauthor with Willard Scott of America is My Neighborhood) here stitches together interviews and day-in-the-life profiles with more than 50 prominent national and local newswomen--in a fluffy, mock-tough celebration of the life. styles of the bright and telegenic. A few decades ago, being the "Today Girl" on The Today Show was the crowning achievement a woman could hope for on TV. The "Today Girl" was a pretty appliance who sang or sold Alpo--until Barbara Walters transformed the job. Here, although he does question them about the lingering pressures of sexism and the demands of the job, Paisner mainly glorifies our most famous anchorwomen and female correspondents, inheritors of Walters' pioneering. Armed with the insights of Leslie Stahl, cool Diane Sawyer, Connie Chung, Jane Pauley, and many others, Paisner more often than not sticks to safe stuff: He talks to Stahl not about Watergate, but about how her pregnancy looked on TV; he never probes Sawyer about her million-plus salary. Amazingly, there is no reference to the late Jessica Savitch, so recently portrayed as a Frankenstein of a ratingsmad network system. Despite some revealing bits, then--the profile of Connie Chung shows a think-on-your-feet perfectionist who's still moved to tears over the news--Paisner drops the ball here. By consistently ducking tough questions, he takes his intelligent subjects back to the Stone Age of the "Today Girl."

Pub Date: March 29th, 1989
ISBN: 688-07499-X
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
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