I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Journalists have pretty much jettisoned every other ethical value connected to their profession, so it shouldn’t surprise me that they’ve jettisoned professionalism as well. Come on, dude, you didn’t really think that Don “Isn’t it cute that I’m drunk and ranting on TV” Lemon was unique, did you?
Fox News anchor Julie Banderas—no, I don’t believe she got her lofty perch in broadcast news for her reporting skills, but then neither did Chris Cuomo—was one of the gang on “Gutfield!,” Fox News’ evening comedy talk show last week. She exploited the opportunity to announce that she was divorcing the father of her three children live as she launched into a bitter diatribe against Valentine’s Day..
“Fuck Valentine’s Day!” she said. “Yeah, it’s stupid. I mean, even when I was married, I didn’t get shit for Valentine’s Day.”
“Wait, you’re no longer married?” host Greg Gutfeld asked.
“Well, I’m getting a divorce. I’m gonna go ahead and say it right here for the first time,” the trusted news anchor replied. Her announcement was planned, because she told her Twitter followers that she would be making it on the show that night. “Thank you everyone, congratulations are already in order,” she continued. “If you know me, you’ll clap. That was breaking news, listen you don’t have to be a guy to not get shit on Valentine’s Day, come talk to me after the show. It’s a Hallmark holiday, it’s stupid. It’s just absolutely ridiculous and I don’t think you need one day.”
- This is why journalists, especially broadcast journalists, should avoid being guests on talk shows where they are tempted—at least if they are narcissists, nor very bright and aspiring celebrities—to turn into second-rate Joan Rivers clones. Their duty as journalists is to be trusted. I don’t trust people who act like assholes on TV. Even when Barbara Walters was hosting “The View,” she managed to stay within professional boundaries (other than the fact that she was hosting “The View”). To be fair, Babs knew what those boundaries were.
- Who cares about Julie Banderas’s domestic situation? Journalists are not supposed to make themselves the story: that’s in all the journalism ethics codes. Doing what the Fox News Babe did—at least she’s not bleached blonde; that’s refreshing for Fox—displays the entitled mindset that allows today’s journalists to presume to decide what the public should or shouldn’t know, creating a large mass of unethical, arrogant, self-aggrandizing egotists who are under the delusion that they are smarter and wiser than they are.
- I know it’s cable, but spouting “fuck” and “shit” is no more acceptable on TV than it is for me in court, as an expert witness, or teaching an ethics course in front of an audience. The ethics principle is called “respect”: maybe Fox News fans are all dumb, low-life fascist deplorables like President Biden says, but that doesn’t excuse a professional journalist for treating them that way.
11 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Fox News anchor Julie Banderas”
It’s a symptom of reality TV’s tropes seeping into other mediums.
I’ve never understood the fascination many people seem to have with watching absolute trash behave like absolute trash. Yet that’s about 90% of reality TV these days and is a staple of probably a majority of households.
So they can feel superior.
To be fair, the so-called reality shows are unethical.
First of all, they aren’t reality. People go on the trashy talk shows to get a free trip. They are encouraged to exaggerate and emote excessively. My sister knew a couple who went on a show with the theme of “If you don’t give birth to a boy, I’m leaving.” The husband played it up the whole episode. The truth was that the baby’s sex didn’t matter to him. They got free airfare and hotel, though.
The price of dignity is so cheap.
The reality shows are just as scripted as any regular show. People who go on those want to be famous. It’s no secret that little known actors and actresses go on game shows to get noticed. So the Big Brothers, Survivors and Bachelor babes are there to be discovered, too. We know someone who went on a reality-style game show. She told us how her voice was recorded saying certain lines and then played during random scenes to give the impression she was saying the lines then and there in reaction to a specific scenario. She was pretty upset at the context in which one pre-recorded line was used when the show aired b ut she couldn’t complain to the show because she’d signed over the right for them to use her image and voice.
But they continue to be made because viewers want to look at talk show guests and think, “At least I’m better than THEY are.” and because they want to fantasize about what they would do if they were stuck on the island competing for money and judge the contestants.
If only we aspired to be the best people we could be instead of, as our host has written, just trying to “avoid being the worst rotter that ever lived”.
I’m sure it’s the same people who watch reality shows to feel superior that are also constantly scrolling social media and coming away from that feeling inferior for not being as glamorous as their Instagram influencers.
The common denominator is comparison. How much happier we’d all be if we stopped comparing ourselves to others, from either a position of superiority or inferiority, and, as you said, just focused on being the best we can be.
Her poor kids.
I thought the same thing.
As an adult child if divorced parents, I agree with you wholeheartedly. My parents were not kind to each other post marriage. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have it go on publicly.
If that’s not a photo of a woman scorned, I don’t know what is.
Why do you think “journalists” should be superior? Because they took a couple of courses in college? They don’t have to pass an exam or therwise be credentialed. A great pair of legs, a big bust or connected is about all they need. Intellect, integrity, morals are secondary.
Did I say they should be superior? I hold that they should do the job they are qualified for. They should be trustworthy. That doesn’t take superior talent; it just takes discipline and and integrity.
I guess I don’t watch enough Fox News, because I don’t recall ever seeing her and or even hearing her name. I can’t really think of a news anchor I would consider “trusted” since Brit Hume retired. There are a few who are entertaining, even interesting, but trusted is a whole other thing.
I’m a Fox watcher, so is my dad, and so are most of my family and we’re all reasonably smart, so Fox watchers can’t ALL be idiots, however, that’s not the main point here. The main point is that this probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, as unfortunate as that might be. Journalism as an industry has been headed in this direction for more than two decades, although it’s only gone warp speed in the last seven or so years. Political hit jobs used to be a great rarity, and arguably only when VERY necessary (McCarthy). Now they are the norm. Partisanship used to be at least masked to the point of it being reasonably debatable. Now almost everyone in the industry is an ideological streaker. Acting like an idiot on the air was just not done. Now it’s encouraged. And why should anyone on the air give a damn? As long as they keep their hands to themselves (Matt Lauer), don’t say anyone should shit in anyone’s mouth (Martin Bashir), don’t tell the Jews to get out of Israel (Helen Thomas), and don’t lose their access (which is why Chris Cuomo was finally sacked, let’s not kid ourselves), they are pretty much invulnerable.
I’ve said again and again that too much success leads to a belief you can’t be stopped, and that too much success too fast leads to overreaching. More than a few celebrities and other rich folks have gone far enough out on this limb that it broke. More than a few political careers have ended just that way. Even some nations have gotten smacked down HARD when they finally overreached. Journalists though? Not so much. There’s one aspect of the industry that is unique. They themselves control the flow of information. Tom Clancy pointed out rather neatly in one or another of his novels what a lot of us already knew: information is the key. It’s what makes some things happen and stops others from happening. Lack of it is what let our embassies get hit and allowed 9/11 to become the disaster it became. Having it is what launched American P-38s to take Yamamoto down, allowed the SAS and RUC to catch the IRA flat-footed at Loughall, led SEAL Team 6 to bin Laden’s last bolt hole, and put an Iranian terror master in the crosshairs. Lack of it, or the wrong information, is arguably what put this nation where it is today.
Here’s the thing, unless those charged with the delivery of that information are held accountable for the information they do or don’t deliver and the consequences thereof, nothing is going to change. Almost no one in the industry gets held accountable unless and until either they become a liability to the organization’s goals, or their value to the organization is diminished to the point where there is no value in keeping them. The last time I can think of any journalist being held accountable for the information delivered as news was in 2004, when Mary Mapes was fired from CBS for rushing a story about George Bush the younger’s military service out without sufficient vetting and checking in the hopes of destroying his chances for reelection. This might also have ah, hastened Dan Rather’s retirement, although he was not publicly fired and humiliated, much as he might have deserved to be. I firmly believe Mary Mapes wasn’t fired for putting out a story that was a lie, she was fired because she got caught and became a liability to CBS. A little more checking and vetting to make the story reasonably debatable, and after John Kerry was safely elected CBS would have said oops, our bad, and that would have been it. Since then, all the muck-a-mucks in the media who’ve fallen from grace have been for saying stuff or doing stuff that was a liability.
Brian Williams stole some valor by claiming to have been under fire when he wasn’t. He was suspended and demoted, but he kept his post as a host on MSNBC until his contract ended in 2021. He’s 63 and can probably just comfortably retire. Bill O’Reilly lied about his own war experiences, but what brought him down was “Me Too.” He’s 73 and SHOULD retire. Rachel Maddow lied on the air in 2011, apologized and is still doing her thing. Jonathan Karl lied in 2013, sort of apologized, and is still doing his thing. The only other journalist I can think of who fell comparable to the Mapes fall was NYT lying maker-upper Jayson Blair, and that was a year before.
It hasn’t reached the point where no one cares, but it has reached the point where not enough of the right people care, and journalism is going to simply become a closed “club” that feeds on itself and makes itself the story while feeding as much of the truth as it does or doesn’t want to to the public.