Amanpour-Bashing Critic Gets Smacked DownS

ABC isn't taking Washington Post television critic Tom Shales' insinuations and insults of Christiane Amanpour lying down:

Shales, not a fan since the day Amanpour was hired to replace George Stephanopoulous on This Week ("Many others deserve it more than she does.") He even bitched about her haircut.

But the real glory came after Amanpour, currently the only female host of a network Sunday talk show, debuted. Shales, not very interested in her interviews with Speaker Of The House Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, called her a "globe-trotting Fancy Pants" and, disparagingly, a "Grand Duchess approach[ing] on her floating barge."

And then there was the suggestion that Amanpour, whose father is Iranian, sympathizes with the Taliban, which earned Shales a place as a Worse Person on Countdown With Keith Olbermann.

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Shales wrote,

Perhaps 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 you can see from the portion of This Week excerpted by Olbermann, this is patently absurd — she is reading the names of U.S. soldiers. Not to mention that perhaps "all those who died in war" might include innocent Afghan civilians caught in the crosshairs of the conflict.

ABC felt compelled to respond to this late yesterday. Spokesman Jeffrey Schneider took a pass when Salon asked about the "gendered language Shales used in his column," simply saying, "There's been a lot written and said about what Tom said about Christiane. I don't think I need to add my voice to that. We scratch our heads at the way in which he has said some of these things." Us too!

But the whole rooting-for-the-Taliban thing? Schneider called it "utterly fabricated," adding:

"Christiane took the language from a prayer that she says in her Catholic church every weekend. It's a bidding prayer," Schneider said.

He accused Shales of "trying to create some kind of controversy out of something that is utterly well intentioned — which is to honor both U.S. soldiers that have died in battle as well as civilians and ordinary people who die in war all the time. Seems like a fairly non-controversial thing to do."

Wait, she goes to a Catholic church? Not to mention that she's married to a Jew? She fits the Taliban profile exactly!

ABC Whacks Shales Over Attack On Amanpour [Salon]

Earlier: Amanpour Presses Pelosi, Insists On Controversial Haircut
The Not-Very-Convincing Case Against Christiane Amanpour
WaPo Critic Tom Shales Has A Lady Problem