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January 1, 2023

“Barbara Walters being a terrible human being for almost 15 minutes.”

Bonus for you:

The Buddha’s 4 New Year’s Resolutions.

I remember when I was young going to the funeral of a Scrooge-like character—greedy, angry, beloved by few (I liked and loved him, but I also knew his tough sides), feared or even hated by many.

I was amazed, in my youthful naivete, that no one even constructively acknowledged…reality, in the funeral speeches, or even afterward.

As someone said on Reddit after Barbara Walters’ recent passing,

“I’m gonna be honest, I’ve never subscribed to the notion that when I die, people just suddenly shouldn’t care about how shitty I was as a person.

I genuinely never understood why death just magically makes all the elements of my shitty nature vanish.”

And:

“She was a trailblazer, but being one of the first doesn’t mean you were good.”

Witness:

Barbara Walters was just awful, sometimes. Here’s 4 examples. 

Barbara Walters did some good interviews. But she was often a tabloid-ist, not a journalist. And sometimes, she was an awful human being—blaming victims, doing The Man’s work, covering for corrupt friends.

Honestly, the only context in which I honor her was her role for her trailblazing for women in media. Can’t call what she did “journalism.”

Picking on a victim of sexual assault, or rape, isn’t a stone most of us throw. She did some good and fine things, too.  No one is perfect. Most of us, however, don’t pick on victims. Those of us with power have a greater responsibility not to punch down. What we’re “punching” here is not her reputation—she was well known to be a tabloid-y journalist while she was alive—but rather at the balloon of idol worship.

It’s natural with someone’s passing to reflect on their legacies—that’s what accurate obituaries are about, not eulogizing or ignoring good or bad. And yes, in the wake of so many eulogizing her legacy…we can acknowledge all of it, including her trailblazing and her hurtful actions from a seat of power.

Yes, Barbara Walters conducted some good interviews. But she cozied up to many of her subjects, including Donald Trump, basking in her access and celebrity and serving up softballs to friends.

She was also…awful, sometimes. Witness:

1. Barbara Walters scolds Corey Feldman for calling out pedophilia in Hollywood. “You’re damaging an entire industry.”

“If your industry is full of pedophiles maybe it needs damaging.” ~ a comment.

“She also accused, to his face, Corey Feldman of damaging “an entire industry” when he came forward about his sexual abuse by executives as a child.”

“Wow… I can’t believe she said that to him! She actually demonized a victim. Kudos to Corey for keeping it together here.”

 

2. “When Barbara Walters silenced Bette Midler about being groped by Geraldo. Her journalistic integrity was so f*cked”:

And there was a lot like this:

“You forgot the Suzanne Somers interview where she brings a magazine that Suzanne posed topless in and shames her onscreen by opening up the magazine and showing each page to her making rude and shameful comments. The photos were put in the magazine without her permission.” ~ a comment

 

3. “Check out the interview with Dolly Parton when Walters is so damn condescending and belittling. It’s embarrassing that that was considered normal back then.”

“Yet Dolly out classed her.”

“1977 interview – the dignity of Dolly Parton, while Barbara Walters does her best to humiliate and make her feel uncomfortable. “… Are you a hillbilly? …. Did you look like this as a kid ? … Is it all you? … You don’t have to look like this? … Are you a joke? … Why get married?”

“Her interviews with Katharine Hepburn and Dolly Parton were…something.” “Barbara grilling Dolly about her marriage..! Barbara was married 3 times where Dolly has been married to Carl Dean since 1966.”

 

4. Not convinced? “Barbara Walters being a terrible human being for almost 15 minutes.”

One more comment:

“Barbara Walters built her career on softball interviews. She was the “go to” person for when someone needed damage control or a gullible dupe.

Uri Geller used her. Here’s a telling link. Listen to Walters’ choices of language. She makes it sound as though psychic phenomena is real. James Randi shuts all that down rather quickly, but still, she persists: https://youtu.be/JPt-7j3ahP0.

I’m trying to find the link where James Van Praagh mentions (on 20/20) that Barbara Walters’ father was blind in one eye and she was astonished, claiming the information wasn’t readily available. An ABC researcher was able to locate the information with ease (a “feat” Van Praagh, or his research team, also did). I believe it’s in her autobiography, which was published well before the Van Praagh interview.

To Barbara Walters, who did yeoman’s work dumbing down American journalism for decades.”

 

Palate cleanser: Don’t “Like” this Video: How we can Save Journalism by Slowing Down.

 

For you:

What’s important to remember on the morning of January the First.

Some folks, on Facebook, are telling me not to write about this. My reply:

We cover timely events from a mindful, fair point of view. Please read the article, I think you’ll see it’s far from black and white.

Or saying we’re cheap or clickbaity.

My reply: Clickbait is easy. Judging by the comments, here, this is hard. It’s hard to keep two things at mine at the same time–someone’s contributions, someone’s failings at the expense of others who are in most cases weaker, more vulnerable, abused, assaulted.

What’s hard is leaning into truth, instead of mere whitewashing eulogy. That’s easy.

Or saying we shouldn’t insult the recently dead.

My reply, again: it’s natural after a passing to examine a legacy, from the pov of truth, good AND bad, not just eulogize.
“I’m gonna be honest, I’ve never subscribed to the notion that when I die, people just suddenly shouldn’t care about how sh*tty I was as a person.

I genuinely never understood why death just magically makes all the elements of my shitty nature vanish.”

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