FIGHTING FOR AIR by Liz Trotta

FIGHTING FOR AIR

In the Trenches with Television News
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A feisty memoir by politically conservative and personally brash TV foreign correspondent Trotta. Trotta begins her network news career at NBC during the Vietnam War, and her war at home is the battle to become the first woman TV war correspondent. She wins a six-month tour of the war zone in 1968, after two reporters get wounded, one goes crazy, and the network's ``cannon fodder was getting scarce.'' In Vietnam, she's at her best, dodging bullets with her cameraman and the boys. Trotta believes that the only thing wrong about the war is ``the U.S. government's half-hearted commitment to it,'' and she sympathizes deeply with the soldiers while being attacked by antiwar superiors at NBC, including John Chancellor. Her later assignments are also plums: civil war in the Philippines and Ireland, the Iran hostage crisis, the invasion of Grenada, and even the Claus von BÅlow trial. She takes them all on with a growing sense of bitterness and disillusionment with TV news, and a temper that has her pushing and bullying her way to a story. Finally, her aggressiveness gets her demoted at NBC just after she wins an Overseas Press Club Award for a series on famine in Africa. She then goes over to CBS, where she is eventually fired at age 41, in part for being ``too old.'' Here is her chance to get even by releasing tidbits like the fact that WNBC anchorman Chuck Scarborough has no books in his office, and that Dan Rather's starting contract as an anchor was for $20 million instead of the $8 million reported. Well drawn, exciting, and biting, but in the end Trotta's seeming vindictiveness overwhelms her story.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-671-67529-X
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1991