Saturday, June 03, 2006

Okay feminists.enough about Elizabeth Vargas already

Media: Feminist groups now think everything is a giant conspiracy against women.

Empathy, respect, disappointment, suspicion: women seem to be expressing all those emotions when they discuss Vargas, co-anchor of "World News Tonight" until this week, when she was replaced by Charles Gibson. If she was pushed aside — and she denies it — it's troubling, they say. If she wasn't, it's even more troubling to some, who see it as a reminder of just how difficult it is to "have it all" — even when you have as much going for you as she does. Vargas, 43, is hardly a household name like Katie Couric, whose ascension to the sole anchor chair at CBS was hailed by many as a breakthrough for women when it was announced in April. Yet when Vargas was named ABC co-anchor along with Bob Woodruff last December, she immediately became one of the most visible women in America. Only weeks later, Woodruff was gravely wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq, forcing Vargas to go solo. The following month, she announced her pregnancy, which she says was unexpected. With ratings falling, she was permanently replaced on the evening news this week by the 63-year-old Gibson. (She'll return from maternity leave to co-anchor "20/20.") Vargas said she'd felt no pressure from above to step down, but did so for the good of her family. "Every woman has the right to make that decision for herself and her family without anybody judging it," she told The Associated Press at the time. Feminist groups say Vargas is just being publicly graceful about what was really her abrupt removal from the job. "We see it as a demotion," says Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation and one of the country's most recognizable feminists. "We're worried. Is this a return to the days when it was tougher for women to get ahead?" Smeal was one of three feminist leaders to sign a letter this week to the heads of ABC, asking them to reinstate Vargas. "This clear demotion signals a dispiriting return to the days of discrimination against women that we thought were behind us," said the letter. It asked the network to find a work schedule that would allow Vargas to be both a dedicated mother and a dedicated journalist — and even brought a little show business into the equation, decrying ABC's cancellation of "Commander in Chief," starring Geena Davis as the first woman president. "You have now managed to eliminate two of the country's most visible women role models," said the letter, also signed by Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, and Susan Scanlan, chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations.
Let me try to keep this short. Vargas was one part of a ill-conceived two person team for WNT, Both were good, but seperate neither of them could carry the load of being an anchor. When Woodruff got seriously hurt in Iraq, they tried to get along with Vargas. Unlike NBC who groomed Brian Williams and CBS who put in a seasoned vet in the meantime waiting for Couric, Vargas was a rookie QB being thrown in to run an offense with not enough weapons around her to mask her weaknesses and inexperience. Ratings started to go down which became a concern to the network. Vargas has an unexpected baby on the way, so she decides to take time off and considering she has a gig on 20/20 a nice job waiting for her. ABC sees this as a chance to get some stability back so they put in Gibson, who is perfect for the job. He is not going to get gangbuster ratings but he will right the broadcast. If ABC does with her what NBC did with Brian Williams, a couple of years down the road they can try her at the anchor desk. But right now they need to get back on course and have a steady hand for the news department. Gibson provides that. I don't know why they would bring up CiC considering that got cancelled because of very poor ratings. Just because the lead is a woman doesn't mean ABC can run a charity service for feminist causes who think there is a lack of woman role models which is untrue. All they have done so far is make a big deal out of nothing. Okay, it wasn't short.

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