Monday, December 14, 2009

At 5' 6½", George Stephanopoulos Debuts at Good Morning America - UPDATED!!

I just came back from dropping off my kid at school. Turning on the TV, and clicking over to ABC for what's up on Good Morning America, I see George Stephanopoulos finishing a segment, standing with the rest of his crew: Robin Roberts, JuJu Chang, and Sam Champion. Immediately, the height differential between Stephanopoulos and Roberts caught my attention. He's 5'6½". Robin Roberts is 5'10'', and she was in heels.

All of this is just personal observation and no big deal. I remember pictures of George Stephanopoulos during campaign '92, frequently looking up to his boss and later president, Bill Clinton (6'2½"). So it's not like these height differences are new for Stephanopolous and his admirers.

In any case, more on his debut at the New York Daily News, "
George Stephanopoulos has smooth 'Good Morning America' debut":

George Stephanopoulos slid over into Diane Sawyer's co-host seat on ABC's "Good Morning America" so smoothly Monday that the most noticeable changes were the hair, jacket and jewelry.

But an interview early in the show with President Obama's spokesperson David Axelrod gave a subtle foreshadowing of what ABC very likely hopes to get out of placing Stephanopoulos in that seat.

Because Stephanopoulos has been on the other side of that conversation, when he was a spokesman for former President Bill Clinton, the interview felt almost like two buddies in the bar sharing a beer and talking shop.

That doesn't mean Stephanopoulos wasn't professional. He committed to the media side of this game a while back, and he delivered his questions professionally.

But there was an undercurrent of comfort that isn't always present when government officials talk with the media, and it would be naive to think ABC isn't hoping that will make "GMA" an appealing destination for people making news.

If it raises some questions about potential coziness between the people who run the country and the people who are supposed to keep an eye on them -- well, that's a legitimate discussion.
Actually, watching "This Week" for the last few years, I doubt questions of impartiality are going to be an issue for Stephanopoulos. A former White House press secretary, he brings more insider knowledge to the business than most, and he's more likely sensitive to charges of partisan bias than others similarly situated. He's a good guy.

But check Entertainment Weekly, which focuses on what COULD be a problem at George's new gig:

George Stephanopoulos began his Good Morning America shift today. It was a little weird watching ABC’s chief Washington correspondent interview Dr. Oz and ask holiday shopping expert Becky Worley earnest questions like, “Now, are there any gifts that are more likely to have coupon codes?” But Stephanopoulos also managed to lobby for a windfall profits tax on the bonuses of bankers in a satellite interview with White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod. They discussed President Obama’s appearance on 60 Minutes and how Obama told Oprah he graded himself a B+ for the first year of his administration. I’m surprised Stephanopoulos and Axelrod didn’t delve into Christmas at the White House’s rather illuminating segment about the history of the presidential gingerbread house, but I’ll live.
The Axelrod interview is here: "Bottom Line on 'Fat Cat Bankers'."

*********

UPDATE: Alessandra Stanley, at the New York Times, notices the height differential as well (with bold added):

He was welcomed with fanfare by his co-host, Robin Roberts, but it wasn’t clear that the two have natural chemistry. Ms. Roberts, who was of a height with Ms. Sawyer, towers over the diminutive Mr. Stephanopoulos; their senses of humor seem equally unaligned. Ms. Roberts is more literal than funny and is given to outsize expressions of feeling. Mr. Stephanopoulos is reserved and permits himself small, sarcastic asides.

10 comments:

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

There's no dispute he knows his stuff. It will be interesting to see, however, if/when his bias does appear.

As an aside, a guitarist for one of my favorite bands, (AC/DC), Angus Young (b. 1955), is 5'2" tall.

And rocks like an earthquake.

BZ

Donald Douglas said...

BZ: It's the difference that's interesting! ACDC's hot !

Rusty Walker said...

Gee, Donald, you make the observation that infers an oddity, and then clear your conscience by saying? “All of this is just personal observation and no big deal.” But, then, follow with another height snipe: “I remember pictures of George Stephanopoulos during campaign '92, frequently looking up to his boss and later president, Bill Clinton (6'2½").” So, what are we to make of this innocent “observation?”

At 5’ 3 ¾” I would be looking up at George Stephanopoulos. I suppose that would be “no big deal,” as well, but would still be worth mentioning by you as inferred interesting weirdness.

No, I am not being oversensitive - After all these years, of course, I have a sense of humor about my height in polite company. I rarely even think of my stature unless I’m in an elevator. But I will stick up for myself. It was such passing remarks like that in high school and college that made short guys like me take boxing; and, later in dog-eat-dog corporate life, wary of casual slights that were intended to infer inferiority.

I see little difference from this statement than:

“… I see [Michael Jordan] finishing a segment, standing with the rest of his crew: Robin Roberts, JuJu Chang, and Sam Champion. Immediately, the [color] differential between [M.J.]?....So it's not like these [color differences] are new for [MJ] and his admirers.”

Obviously, there is a material difference: Height comparison can be an odd, and being of color is normal, but when you are short, it feels like the same kind of unnecessary finger-pointing observation which is a slam anyway you slice it.
I am surprised at you. You are an eminently educated man.

Rusty Walker said...

...But, you are a friend that I respect, so I am going to take it on the chin and give this a pass this time, now that I have vented.

Donald Douglas said...

"At 5’ 3 ¾” I would be looking up at George Stephanopoulos." LOL!

That's a good one, Rusty. Hey, I'd be looking up at Robin Roberts, so we're even!

Rusty Walker said...

LOL All that said, I still look up to you and your political ideals, so we're even. hah!

Rusty Walker said...

Actually, apparently your short friend (me) overreacted from past baggage; I just saw this in the The New York Times :

"He was welcomed with fanfare by his co-host, Robin Roberts, but it wasn’t clear that the two have natural chemistry. Ms. Roberts, who was of a height with Ms. Sawyer, towers over the diminutive Mr. Stephanopoulos; their senses of humor seem equally unaligned. Ms. Roberts is more literal than funny and is given to outsize expressions of feeling. Mr. Stephanopoulos is reserved and permits himself small, sarcastic asides."

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/15/arts/television/15watch.html

So, obviously this is oversensitivity on my part; I retract my initial vent.

JBW said...

Well Don, I'm off. Life's too short to spend it grappling with a petty, pot-bellied douchebag. Have a nice life, and never forget that they're all trying to destroy you only because you're just so smart and right all the time. Keep whining, Jesse. Peace.

Maria said...

Hmmm ... I guess GMA has George sitting on phone books because as of 1/29. gradually he and Robin have become the same size.

Height does not make the man or woman, but do they think they're fooling us with whatever they're doing to manipulate the images?

Not!

The Curmudgeon said...

Midgets and democrats are evil. So he's really screwed!