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Titel: Reporting Live
Verlag: Simon & Schuster
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Lesley Stahl's job offer from CBS came with an ultimatum -- "if you can't start tomorrow, forget it." The year was 1972, and opportunities for women in network television were rare. With the same determination that would define her career, she promptly departed Boston, went to Washington, and began her ascent to the top of broadcast journalism. In a male-dominated world, Stahl established herself as a "scoopster" and a "door kicker," breaking some of the most important stories in Washington, including Watergate. She would cover the next three presidents, witnessing the disintegration of Jimmy Carter's presidency, the rise and fall and rise again of Ronald Reagan's, and the unpretentious, regular-guy quality of George Bush's.
In telling her story, Stahl touches on themes that have defined the later part of this century: the changing role of the press in politics, television's coming of age, and the dilemma of the professional woman. With witty anecdotes, wise observations, and never a hair out of place, Stahl provides an insightful and entertaining look at her world and ours from behind the reporter's microphone.
No TV news blond has more steel than 60 Minutes' Lesley Stahl, whose Reporting Live is one impressively substantive celebrity memoir. As a rookie in the CBS Washington, D.C., bureau in 1972, she got an assignment too grubby and unpromising for the big reporters: Watergate. She didn't just date Bob Woodward, she vied with him for scoops. For a quarter century, workaholic Stahl saw more of presidents and fellow bulldog newshound Sam Donaldson than her own daughter and husband, Urban Cowboy writer Aaron Latham.
Stahl's book belongs on any political-history shelf. Besides a briskly readable account of epochal events witnessed up close, she offers canny insights into what broke Nixon, backs up Tom Shales's opinion of Carter as "a combination Mr. Rogers and John the Baptist," assesses Reagan's mysteriously fogbank-like mind, and paints a startlingly warm portrait of George Bush (though not Barbara). Not only can Stahl fire fierce questions at world leaders against hair-raising deadlines, she can analyze trends with cool detachment, sometimes busting her profession or herself as guilty parties. She laments the "moral McCarthyism" of our times and compares her profession to a pack of wild dogs she'd encountered on an African safari.
What did it mean to be a woman in a man's world? Menachem Begin sexually harassed her, but her experience with teenage girls proved useful in understanding Reagan's bitchy, backstabbing male staff. Stahl sketches her personal life (and Latham's near-fatal depression), but her stuff on media and politics is the real news here. --Tim Appelo
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