Christiane Amanpour’s “This Week” Debut

ABC's Sunday talking heads show has a new host. Is she a secret Taliban sympathizer?

Despite overlapping blog posts based on her interview with Nancy Pelosi, I missed Christiane Amanpour’s debut as host of ABC’s “This Week” because the idiots at the network insist on renaming the show constantly and thus my DVR didn’t record it.   Does “with Transient Show Host’s Name” really need to be part of the official name of the show?

At any rate, I see via Matt Yglesias that they’ve changed one of the longstanding features of the show and that Tom Shales is displeased.

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?

Now, I agree with Eric Boehlert that accusing Amanpour of sympathizing with the Taliban without evidence is unseemly.  And Matt’s right, of course, that “American forces are fighting alongside coalition partners from a range of countries and the bulk of the dying is being done by Afghans, both civilians and those in the security forces.”

The show is on an American television network and broadcast to an American audience.  Surely,  it’s reasonable to focus on the American soldiers killed?

Oddly, though, except for Amanpour’s voiceover, that’s exactly what they did:

The segment is exactly as it has been for years:  A listing of prominent political and cultural figures who died, followed by a listing of American troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan that week.  The only difference is Amanpour’s intonation that they’re recognizing all those who have died in war.  Which, since they’re not actually doing that, is rather weird.

But it seems to follow the larger criticism of the new host that Shales is getting at:  A faux attempt to internationalize a show that has been, since its 1981 debut with the venerable David Brinkley as host, a weekly political gabfest.   Transitional host  Jake Tapper had done an admirable job of following George Stephanopoulos, essentially doing the same show as his predecessor with minor differences based on their personalities.

Amanpour seems to be trying to turn it into a foreign affairs show.  Or, perhaps it is ABC’s executives who are doing that — figuring on carving out a distinct niche for the network in a cluttered Sunday morning schedule — and that’s why they hired Amanpour in the first place.  I’m skeptical but willing to give it a chance.  (Yes, I’ve updated my DVR settings.)

What I’m pretty sure they’re not going to do, however, is turn it into a Taliban lovefest.

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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. I missed Christiane Amanpour’s debut as host of ABC’s “This Week” because the idiots at the network insist on renaming the show constantly and thus my DVR didn’t record it

    Same problem here–it happened when they went from “This With George Stephanopolous” to just “This Week” when Tapper took over.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    We’re pretty accustomed to our news anchors being either Americans or Canadians.  Ms. Amanpour is bound to bring slightly different sensibilities to her job.  I thought that particular segment was uncomfortable (in a completely different way from that in which it’s always uncomfortable).  Just odd, though, rather than bad.


    Whether she’ll bring additional audience to This Week remains to be seen.  I’m not sure she was a prudent choice.

  3. rodney dill says:

    Taliban Sympathizer, Christiane Amanpour.  just doesn’t have the same ring as

    Palestinian whore, Christiane Amanpour.

  4. An Interested Party says:

    As opposed to the hordes of Israeli whores who are everywhere else in the media…

  5. tom p says:

    Wow, she doesn’t go the “GO! U!S!A! GO! USA!” route and she is automatically a Palistinian whore.

    Rodney, who’s c*ck do you s*cck?

  6. Raoul says:

    I though Tapper was better than Stephanalopous (sic).

  7. DavidL says:

    The bsst Sunday morning hosts have had more talent than ego.  Lawerence Spivac, Tim Russert or David Brinkley never gave the impression that they were news makers.   Having seem one approach, ABC News now sees fit to try the other, ego over talent.