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Ashleigh Banfield, hot or not?
May 5, 2003 11:07 PM   Subscribe

Ashleigh Banfield was recently "demoted." "Coincidentally," this came after her public comments about coverage of the war in Iraq. I have thought about her in the past, but never as an ideologue, and certainly not as a journalist on the level of Maria Bartiromo. It is shocking that her career might be a casualty of war. Thoughts about this fallen soldier, as a journalist, or as a hot little firecracker?
posted by son_of_minya (33 comments total)

 
Just a brief note about the "ideologue" link: Mike Savage called her a slut, and it seems to me that conservative websites don't care about that slur. I did find most of these links by searching for "Ashleigh Banfield AND naked," but I don't think it's right to use that kind of language against a woman. It's funny to me, because he's a creep.

I am only joking in calling her a "hot little firecracker," and do not wish to demean Ashleigh Banfield in any way.
posted by son_of_minya at 11:13 PM on May 5, 2003


Mike Savage called her a slut

I believe it was "mind slut".

Not saying it's right or wrong, but lets get the facts straight.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 11:27 PM on May 5, 2003


Yes son_of_minya I too have been getting seriously sick of the slurs being thrown around these days by some of these political pundits. The Dixie Chicks were called whores and this guy called Ashleigh Banfield a slut (that word is particularly offensive). I do not know about how other women feel but I am certainly offended by these remarks. These words are derogatory not only to those they are directed against but every single female and I think more of them should be outraged by it. I suspect that if someone called Mr Savage's wife, sister or mother a slut he would be highly upset.

"Well Mr Savage, Ms Banfield IS someone's wife, sister or mother and you sir should be ashamed of yourself!"
posted by SweetIceT at 11:38 PM on May 5, 2003


Gee whiz, can't we call Michael (Don't Call Me Weiner) Savage a media whore?

Seriously, if Ms. Banfield didn't have a fairly good idea what kind of media poop she was stepping into by speaking her mind the way she did, then the term "dumb blonde" may apply here. More likely she did know and took a calculated risk that the ever-more-right-leaning MSNBC would end up doing something that would void her contract there and (after a lot of publicity and sympathy) she could end up with a chance to work some place she could feel more comfortable (PBS?). It's been done before, not always successfully (How Linda Ellerbee ended up at Nickelodeon?), but as I said, a calculated risk.
posted by wendell at 11:51 PM on May 5, 2003


I'm am so tired of people getting their butts kicked over speaking their mind. Dissent is a necessary part of our whole social fabric. At least, it used to be.

I personally wasn't aware of Ms. Banfield until this post, but if her press is correct, she's a gutsy and talented reporter. She is certainly qualified to make the comments she did, and I believe she had a number of good points.

I read Mr. Savage's comments froth. He certainly has a right to say his bit, but I will not be evaluating it in the future. Also, I hope he gets hit by a bus.
posted by Kikkoman at 12:12 AM on May 6, 2003


Funniest quote from the ideologue link:

"I guess Banfield was referring to the Fox News Network, the only fair and balanced TV news network in the world."
posted by iamck at 12:54 AM on May 6, 2003


Talk about spin! Just take a peek at s_o_m's post!

From the NYT article, Banfield's viewership dropped from a peak of 1 million to 230,000. As with most things in life, her demotion probably followed a series of events and was not the direct result of any one incident.

C'mon, you guys should be smart enough to know that coincidence is not proof of causality.
posted by mischief at 1:32 AM on May 6, 2003


Banfield had 230,000 viewers, while O'Reilly was up to 7,000,000 in the first week of the war.

Dog bites man, or in this case, bitch.
posted by BubbaDude at 3:49 AM on May 6, 2003


Her kid-gloved precious "interviews" of terrorist genocidal Jew hate groups like Hamas and Hezb'allah turned my stomach. She can even list a heart-to-heart with double-talking terrorist extrodinaire Yasser Arafat on her soiled resume.

With friends like Banfield, who needs enemies?
posted by hama7 at 4:32 AM on May 6, 2003


With friends like Banfield, who needs enemies?

If you're not reporting the news with us, you're reporting the news against us?
posted by liam at 4:44 AM on May 6, 2003


Let me get this straight -- she publicly badmouths the actions of her employer and her ratings are abysmal and we should be shocked that she got demoted? Hell, we should be shocked that she didn't get FIRED. If I publicly criticized my boss and my performance was as bad as hers, I would certainly be demoted if not fired. Besides, she's always been journalistic lightweight. It was all about her glasses.
posted by marcusb at 5:06 AM on May 6, 2003


The lecture in question took place just a few hundred yards from the library in which I work. Did I go? Nope. I could have commented here with first-person accuracy, and you all would have marvelled at my insight. Instead, I wallow in regret. The most I can offer is a link to the eventual text and video of the lecture.

It's a fantastic lecture series, by the way. Archives of audio, and sometimes video back to the series' inception in 1966 are also available from that link. Senator Robert Kennedy, Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter and Bush Sr., Colin Powell, Sandra Day O'Connor...for being just a "fly-over" state, we get some decent folks to land here.
posted by donnagirl at 6:48 AM on May 6, 2003


I don't know about you guys, but she always seemed like a world-affairs dilettante in the most heinous sense. Which is fine, if your only duty is to stand there with a microphone, but she chose to conduct interviews and take part in alarmist crap like climbing the Brooklyn Bridge for the cameras to show us how terrorists could bomb it (?). I'd never call her a "slut", but she has Air-Headed Opportunist written all over her.

Everyone I knew hated her since before Sept 11th, and it's only gotten worse. I give her props for being "real" about the war, but if she knowingly pissed off her employers, why is it wrong or controversial she be demoted? She's always taken flack for being a lightweight, maybe NBC is just wary of fluff reporters who draw controversy.
posted by dhoyt at 6:55 AM on May 6, 2003


That Times article says of her days in Dallas: "She was also known in the city's gossip pages for singing in a rock band and for holding late-night parties at her loft apartment." I'm offering $10 to anyone who can give me an MP3 of the band she played for in Texas.
posted by rex at 6:59 AM on May 6, 2003


Hey, thanks donnagirl. Wish I had been able to find a transcript of the Mike Savage bit, too. "Hint, hint."

I liked how one of the articles described her as giving a report with "dramatic flair." It reminds me of a girl I knew in college. A lot of them, actually. Kind of girl who walks around with a scarf on, and talks with a fake accent.

This story does upset me, but I haven't really got an opinion on it. The links are listed in about the order I read them. I was just offended by the Mike Savage line, and shocked by the overall story. After watching her to the point that I know her name and notice that a girl at work looks like her, it's surprising to see this.

I thought she was too masculine at first, but she really is cute, and sexy. She's like a farm girl, in a way. Not very photogenic, but moving pictures are always good. She has a coy smile, and a great figure. One of those articles mentions her "Clark Kent" glasses, and I think that's typical of the dismissive attitude towards her. Call them "Wilma" glasses, but "Clark Kent" is not a good term to describe a woman.

Yadda, yadda, yadda. You don't have to join some crusade against MSNBC. It's surprising that the initial comments were so on my side, and that the thread drifted in the opposite direction so soon.
posted by son_of_minya at 7:45 AM on May 6, 2003


She lost her show and was sent to the broadcast gulag in October, long before her critical comments on the war coverage.

And really, she wasn't exactly Cronkite, you know? Her major claim to fame was wearing glasses, ferpetesakes.

But while I was never impressed with her, the idea that no one should ever interview bad people is laughable.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:48 AM on May 6, 2003


Hey, one of those links says that she sang in a band. Does anybody know anything about this? What band? Did they record anything? Do photos exist?
posted by elvissinatra at 8:45 AM on May 6, 2003


That's right hama7. She's either with us, or a "slut" who's against us. Maybe she ought to move to Afghanistan if she loves those people so much.
posted by drstrangelove at 8:47 AM on May 6, 2003


But while I was never impressed with her, the idea that no one should ever interview bad people is laughable.

BUT WE ARE AT WAR!!!!

seriously though, it's a strange time we live in, where some people [such as cable channels] cannot view cable news as anything but a form of show business, while others such as myself watched the arafat interview with much interest precisely because we really do think it is a new form of journalism... i think the way history is written is changing before our eyes, when it comes to the large historical figures. it used to be that a character study was composited post hoc out of documentary evidence, which was often dubiously self-serving, or carried other unassessable biases. the new method, which has been slowly coalescing post-nixon, is to get the subject in four dimensions: examine his or her actions as a relaxed person, to sort of tease out the baseline of their mindset.

i can see of course how someone who thinks it's all a schmoozefest would be disgusted by it. it's like paying the murderers for their stories. but all those who are disgusted [because they just know he's guilty] by the idea of journalists paying oj to be interviewed so he can work his "still looking for the murderer" type lines should stop and think: what better way for you to really assess his guilt than to hear him schmooze? it's the best window into his psyche that you have.

that's the idea behind something like the arafat interview, broadly speaking. imagine such an interview with hitler or kennedy; today such a trashy video clip would be rather illuminating.
posted by mitchel at 8:50 AM on May 6, 2003


The MSNBC correspondent lashed out at her network's portrayal of the war as "glorious and wonderful" during a speech made in Kansas State University. She blamed the media for depicting a sanitized image of war: "I am not so sure that we in America are hesitant to do this again, to fight another war, because it looked like a glorious and courageous and so successful, terrific endeavor."

I've never seen the woman report anything so I have no idea how generally good or bad she is but this, at least, was accurate.
posted by moonbiter at 9:21 AM on May 6, 2003


Dog bites man, or in this case, bitch.

Classy.

I thought she was too masculine at first, but she really is cute, and sexy. She's like a farm girl, in a way. Not very photogenic, but moving pictures are always good. She has a coy smile, and a great figure. One of those articles mentions her "Clark Kent" glasses, and I think that's typical of the dismissive attitude towards her. Call them "Wilma" glasses, but "Clark Kent" is not a good term to describe a woman.

I think this thread's saying a lot more about the commenters than this reporter woman.
posted by Summer at 9:29 AM on May 6, 2003


Her kid-gloved precious "interviews" of terrorist genocidal Jew hate groups like Hamas and Hezb'allah turned my stomach. She can even list a heart-to-heart with double-talking terrorist extrodinaire Yasser Arafat on her soiled resume.


Hama7 has it exactly right. One thing you NEVER want to do if you want to do if you want to keep your job on the American airwaves is do anything that might be even remotely considered 'humanising' to Palestinians. You can interview Columbian, Sri Lankan, Nepalese or Sikh terrorists any day of the week, but Palestinians are a big no-no. It's career suicide.
posted by cell divide at 10:25 AM on May 6, 2003


I dunno gang, I met Ashleigh not long after she moved to Dallas from Calgary...and I liked her. I can't for the life of me remember if the R&B group she sang with even had a name...if I remember correctly, it was a pretty organic group, in that it changed frequently...but it's been a few years, so I could be making that up.

But, as people go, Ashleigh was pretty groovy, she had great taste in cigars, she had interesting friends, and her parties were fun...although, not nearly as interesting as mine. ;)

She has won a bunch of awards, including an emmy, for her journalistic efforts...and maybe her detractors have forgotten her 9-11 brush with death and subsequent on the spot reporting of the towers falling...but I haven't.
posted by dejah420 at 10:41 AM on May 6, 2003


Was this thread intentionally spun to be critical of the US media for stiffling dissent or was there a confusion about the meaning of the words "before" and "after"? Did you expect us not to read the articles and just post on the basis of your post?

From the nytimes story:
"Mr. Shapiro abruptly canceled her program in October and moved her over to NBC News's broadcast division."

"she angered top NBC management April 25 by giving a speech that it believed was critical of its war coverage."


How do these possibly match the posters wording
"Ashleigh Banfield was recently "demoted." "Coincidentally," this came after her public comments about coverage of the war in Iraq."

I don't mind partisan posts, but I expect at least a truthful summary of the facts contained in inks.
posted by superchris at 11:19 AM on May 6, 2003


"We freed the Iraqi people, and many of those people, by the way, were quite thankless for that. There has to be a reason, and the reason for it is because we don't have a very good image right now overseas."

What the hell kind of reporting izzat?

Ms. Banfield's rip of her employer's [NBC] editorial stance is precarious and no doubt subject to a firing. As an employee of the company, you toe the company line or you find another employer that fits your ethics. There is no question that she may be correct in her opinions, however they don't match those of her employer. Now she's surprised at a demotion? Oooops?

I wish I had a link for y'all to an article by Mark Swartz called "Idealism: what place in the workplace" in the May 3, 2003 edition of the Toronto Star. It was a "special to the Star" and not available.

Surprise, right wing views are getting better ratings! It's a business, whachagonnado?

Coverage? Oh, sure. Reporting? Not.

Michael Savage's calling her a slut and worse, on air, constitutes a lawsuit on Ms. Banfield's part. Not only is it unprofessional on Savage's part, but worthy of a lawsuit.

As I don't watch tv, I wouldn't watch "the news" for news in any case if I did watch tv. News seems to be a shill for corporate sponsors' viewpoint matched by the network owners' politics and to which party they "donated" money and received some sweet concessions from government.

I've never seen Ms. Banfield's coverage ever, but it is a sad state of affairs when networks choose eye candy over substance. How crass. Why not watch the nude news then? Is that what the viewers want? Fuck! THAT is what sucks about some tv. Did I mention how paternalistic upper management is? Ha! ok, we won't go there.....

I'm also a little shocked about viewers dictating what kind of news they want to see? Ya want a story? Read a story book. Jayzus! The news should be about reporting to the viewer, news, not the other way around. Ratings, gad.

Is it branding by newscaster then as opposed to providing content and coverage from both sides of a story?
posted by alicesshoe at 11:42 AM on May 6, 2003


Hmn, I rather enjoyed Ms. Banfield's informal style every now and then as a change of pace-- gave you the flavor of DIY journalism, why not just hop on the plane and ask people a few questions for yourself? Seems to me the points in her talk are not especially unusual or unexpected. Must we automatically discount all opinions and work done by people with a bit of style or flash? What's so wrong with having a diversity of styles and presentation in the news?
posted by sheauga at 2:23 PM on May 6, 2003


Was this thread intentionally spun to be critical of the US media for stiffling dissent or was there a confusion about the meaning of the words "before" and "after"?

Honest mistake.
posted by son_of_minya at 3:38 PM on May 6, 2003


"Honest mistake"
That's what I thought, thanks. Sorry if I was a bit harsh- it was rushed at the office at lunch and I was caffeinated. I respect your contribution here.

I think some of my irritation it had to do with with my previous reading of this article and the interesting topics that it brought to light- the popularity contest of our talking heads and the harshness of the business of news.

She seems to be a good example of today's pop journalism- attractive, hip, and deified and cast away in a heartbeat. I don't dislike her work, but the nytimes quotes comparing her to Katie Couric seems to sum up my dislike for cable news. Why in the world do we want "newspeople" to be like Katie Couric or Bill O'Reilly. Hrumph. I guess I'll keep C-Span and Lehr Newshour as my morning and nightime news and quitely grumble. Sweet baby jesus, no more Lacy Peterson...
posted by superchris at 6:55 PM on May 6, 2003


I, like some others in this thread, am not very familiar with Ms. Banfield. I listened to her Landon Lecture last week -- mostly because I'm just a junkie for speech sites -- and found her to be, on the whole, a very thoughtful and mature speaker with well-founded opinions.

For my money, though, Thomas L. Friedman of the NYT, while overly dramatic at times, gives a better iraq speech.
posted by Bixby23 at 9:34 PM on May 6, 2003


She seems to be a good example of today's pop journalism- attractive, hip, and deified and cast away in a heartbeat. I don't dislike her work, but the nytimes quotes comparing her to Katie Couric seems to sum up my dislike for cable news. Why in the world do we want "newspeople" to be like Katie Couric or Bill O'Reilly. Hrumph. I guess I'll keep C-Span and Lehr Newshour as my morning and nightime news and quitely grumble. Sweet baby jesus, no more Lacy Peterson...

For a while, I've preferred the newspaper for a number of reasons. First, TV news doesn't cover the local sports or politics I want. Second, print seems to still have higher standards about basics like fact checking (usually it does not go out on the wire if it can't be confirmed by press time). Third, I lost my respect for TV news after Kennedy Jr. disappeared and saw Peter Jennings attempt to fill the afternoon of dead air by interviewing everyone who was ever in the same room as a Kennedy.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:30 PM on May 6, 2003


Would this have even become a thread if Ashleigh Banfield was ugly?
posted by TheFarSeid at 2:17 AM on May 7, 2003


Would this have even become a thread if Ashleigh Banfield was ugly?

Probably not.

That is a debatable question, though. Some people don't think she's attractive.
posted by son_of_minya at 11:45 AM on May 7, 2003


Well Summer, at least nobody said anything as nasty as "F*ck off you crazy old dyke". What does that say about the poster?
posted by BubbaDude at 2:47 PM on May 9, 2003


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