Man, James Rainey sure gives it to Fox TV 11's party-girl anchor Jillian Warry/Barberie/Reynolds in today's L.A. Times. Reynolds began at Channel 11 in 1995 as a standard-issue weather hottie and has now transitioned into middle-aged MILF-dom. (Remarried in 2006, she only retains her former name, Barberi, for her Nutrisystem commercials.) She's been an innuendo-burbling fixture on the station's newslike Good Day L.A. show, where her naughty persona plays off the always-older, ever-clueless Steve Edwards and raspy-voiced Dorothy Lucey. In addition to dispensing lifestyle advice on that program, she's appeared in antifreeze ads and performed red-carpet duties at Oscar and NLF events.
The sources of Rainey's outrage are manifold. Mainly, though, it gets down to Reynolds being one of the more egregious personalities to survive the decline and fall of the American television newsroom -- right when her station has pink-slipped 95 presumably more high-minded members of the news staff.
For Rainey, Reynolds is "the Medusa-haired, wailing siren who epitomizes the noxious celebrification of what we once called news."
In some ways Reynolds, whose most important hobbies seem to be pet
adoption and losing weight, is a perfect target for those who mourn the
fact that TV news has become the intellectual equivalent of beach
volleyball. Good Day L.A.'s Web site
tells you all we need to know about the zeitgeist. Ads for luxury cars
vie for attention next to ones inviting people who are about to lose
their homes to refinance their mortgages. Today, for editorial copy,
the site's "Hot Stories" include links to these breaking stories: "Was
Obama Looking at Girl at G8?", "Nudists Attempt Skinny Dip World
Record" and "Jackson Casket Maker Stays in Shadows."
Reynolds as an example of what's wrong with television news, but I
would say she's not the cause of the great decline, only a symptom.
People don't lose interest in watching news stories about complex and
important issues because an anchor chews gum on the set or wears too
much eye makeup. She's there because they want her - she's the Elvira
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of the Information Age.
If it's true that a people get the
government they deserve, then perhaps also we get the news we deserve
-- and the entertainers who perform it.