NYT has a piece lamenting the fact that Ashleigh Banfield’s Career No Longer Seems to Shine as Bright. I’m shocked.

The NYT seems to miss the obvious here, so let me clarify: The main reason Ashleigh Banfield was successful is that she’s very good looking. Even in glasses, which is a plus, because that makes her appear both pretty and smart. Otherwise, just about any person with decent corrected vision, basic literacy, and lacking a speech impediment could do that job. How hard is it to read aloud stuff others have written? Not very.

And this quote pretty well sums it up:

But she is clearly still aiming high. “To rise through the ranks of Katie Couric and Jane Pauley and Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer you’ve got to put up with a lot of hardship,” she said.

Couric and Pauley, especially, are and were very well paid for being cute and chipper in the morning. That pretty much sums up their skill set. Walters and Sawyer are more polished interviewers, although neither had significant careers in print journalism–they got their start as pretty faces on TV and managed to hang on even as they started aging, once a rarity indeed for women.

The bottom line is that it’s all about the ratings. If Katie Couric can induce millions of people to tune in to watch her chit chat with Al Roker about cookie recipes, then she can command a ridiculous salary. But it’s not like The Economist is going to be offering her a job if the TV gig falls through. Ditto Banfield.

Update: Apparently, some people don’t know who Banfield is. Heh. The regular version of the page has pics. (Warning: No nudity.)

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Lemon says:

    I only wish I had the hardship of Couric, Walters, et al (Roker)…

  2. joy says:

    Even in glasses, which is a plus, because that makes her appear both pretty and smart.

    Well, I’m apparently good to go then. 😛

  3. jen says:

    Yeah, me too, Joy. =)