Even before Christiane Amanpour took over as host of ABC's This Week, media observers worried she didn't have what it takes. Few disputed her mettle as a seasoned foreign correspondent but critics worried about her grasp of domestic issues. In any event, she made her debut on Sunday and the reviews were mostly mixed. One criticism, however, seems to have gone beyond the pale. In a scathing review, Washington Post style columnist Tom Shales suggested that Amanpour sympathized with the Taliban because she asked her audience to remember "all of those who died in war":
In keeping with the newly globalized program, the commendable "In Memoriam" segment ended with a tribute not to American men and women who died in combat during the preceding week but rather, said Amanpour in her narration, in remembrance of "all of those who died in war" in that period. Did she mean to suggest that our mourning extend to members of the Taliban?
As one might expect, the discussion on the Web shifted from Amanpour's performance to Shales's insinuation. Though he's not without his supporters, many objected to his words:
Oh Boy, sighs Matthew Yglesias at Think Progress: "Or maybe she meant to acknowledge that American forces are fighting alongside coalition partners from a range of countries and the bulk of the dying is being done by Afghans, both civilians and those in the security forces? Maybe. Just throwing that out there."
Time to Apologize, writes Eric Boehlert at Media Matters: "Are you kidding me? Shales really suggested that on her network debut, Amanpour gave a shout-out to members of the Taliban who died in combat last week? What is wrong with this man and when will Shales have the decency to extend an apology to Amanpour?"
Extremely Belittling, writes Taylor Marsh: "Shales takes out after Christiane Amanpour’s impressive reporting history by diminishing her 27-year resume. Ms. Amanpour has tackled the toughest subjects and gone places on earth Shales has not ever seen. His misogynistic mumbling reduces Amanpour to a 'globe-trotting Fancy-Pants' that is unbefitting this career professional and the respect she has earned."
Incredibly Lame Put-Downs, writes Jim Newell at Gawker: "Yes, 'globe-trotting Fancy-Pants' are his actual words, that he typed, in an article. Another zinger from this article: 'Grand Duchess Amanpour.' You know, because she was a foreign correspondent! Delightful. Please, share more from your literary bag of treasures, Tom Shales."