Washington Post critic Tom Shales (5/11/10) didn't think much of the debut of the PBS show Need to Know. Given the reactions from viewers at the Need to Know website, and those published by PBS ombud Michael Getler, he's not the only one who found the show a disappointment–or, as Shales put it,a "monstrosity"and "a specious wheeze."
But he seemed to save a special kind of scorn for co-host Alison Stewart. Responding to the show's fawning interview with Bill Clinton, Shales wrote that "she looked as though she would have been much more comfortable in Clinton's lap."
When ABC announced that they had hired CNN's Christiane Amanpour to be host of the Sunday morning show This Week, Shales (3/23/10) seemed genuinely upset, balking that Amanpour lacked inside-the-Beltway credentials (I think he meant that as a criticism) and noting that some conservatives believe her to be too critical of Israel. Shales even insinuated that Amanpour's upbringing could be a problem: "Her family fled Tehran in 1979 at the start of the Islamic revolution, when she was college age. She has steadfastly rejected claims about her objectivity."
Shales went back for more in a Post Web chat, writing:
And neither you nor I has stooped to mentioning that hair of hers–yipe. What's the deal with that, as David Letterman might say.
The blog Jezebel headlined a roundup of his worst commentary,"WaPo TV Critic Tom Shales Has a Lady Problem."