David Zurawik

Z on TV talking Chelsea Clinton, Christiane Amanpour and more on CNN

I'm coming back to work after a much-needed week away, and I am starting with a busy day Sunday that opens in Washington at CNN's "Reliable Sources."

Host Howard Kurtz has a very strong lineup this week. Here's his description from the CNN website:


Another week and another debate hit our TV screens with just over two weeks to go until the Iowa caucus. We'll have "The Press Pool" host Julie Mason, National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru, and Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank to talk about the latest political headlines. We'll also be joined by someone you probably haven't heard much about: Andrew Kaczynski—the 22-year-old who found an old video of Mitt Romney talking about the art of flip flopping and likes to "find stuff that seeped through the cracks."

This week also began with a little shake up of Sunday morning news. ABC's "This Week" host for the past 16 months Christiane Amanpour will leave the show and the former host, George Stephanopoulos is back in. Baltimore Sun television critic David Zurawik and Hollywood Reporter columnist Marisa Guthrie will be on to talk about that and Chelsea Clinton's disastrous debut on Rock Center.

Also, in the world of sports (and now politics), people can't stop talking about Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow whether it be his athleticism or his faith. Two sports journalists The Nation's Dave Zirin and columnist Gregg Doyel will be on to talk about the controversial athlete.

And finally we'll have Time's managing editor Richard Stengel on to talk about the magazine's choice for person of the year in 2011.

That political segment is the one I am most eager to see. I am the guy who in 2008 went up against all the new-media gurus and said TV still rules in presidential politics. That's been the big story with these 13 TV debates this season, and I am going to start writing, writing and writing some more about it this week. I am especially troubled by the way Fox News has been trying to influence the vote in Iowa away from Ron Paul.


More on that in days to come.

As for tomorrow, I have plenty to say about NBC News and the sorry excuse for a report that Clinton fronted in her debut performance. I hated everything about it from the lack of any reporting in it, to the stereotypes it relied on instead of genuine storytelling.

But that's what you get when you are trying to curry favor with the powerful by employing someone to play a journalist on TV rather than having a real reporter do the kind of storytelling genuine journalists do on shows like '60 Minutes." "Reliable Sources" airs at 11 a.m. Sunday in the East.

Back in Baltimore Sunday night, I'll be writing about the Ravens prime-time game against the San Diego Chargers on NBC. Al Michaels, Chris Collinsworth, Bob Costas, Dan Patrick -- All thanks to the football gods for delivering me from Steve Tasker, Bill Macatee, Dan Dierdorf and Greg Gumbel on CBS.

Also, stop by Z on TV around 7 p.m. before the start of the game. I might have some very interesting local media news to report.