Page: Spitzer and Parker: 'Crossfire' redux?

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Posted: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 11:24 am

Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Pulitzer Prize winner Kathleen Parker will host a new talk show this fall on CNN.

While details of the show are unknown, that's not stopping the naysayers from coming out of the woodwork, saying, essentially, they can't believe that CNN would stoop so low as to hire a former governor who disgraced himself with a call girl.

It's all about having a "name," the critics say. And a "name" Mr. Spitzer brings.

The media cognoscenti isn't taking issue with Kathleen because, one, they don't know her, and two, they're based in New York.

The Big Apple's media intelligentsia — just as provincial as the people living outside the five boroughs, which they call primitive — can't be bothered to read the newspaper of the country's capital, The Washington Post, which is Kathleen's hometown daily.

Some of the griping is due to CNN's brilliance in its selection of Spitzer and Parker. Network officials didn't turn to the tried — and already failed — players. They went with new people who will offer a very fresh perspective.

I have great faith in this pending show and it rests on my previous working experience with Kathleen.

I syndicated her column during my days at Tribune Media Services and witnessed her growth as a columnist. She's a top-notch writer and reporter and often underrated, a viewpoint many of her critics have had to change.

This year, her colleagues bestowed upon her the honor any print reporter and columnist wants: the Pulitzer Prize. She worked for it — the hard way.

A longtime reporter for some of America's leading newspapers, including the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News and the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel, Kathleen's column —a nuanced voice of reason and conservatism — appears in more than 400 U.S. newspapers and connects with a wide audience.

If CNN's producers do an excellent job preparing Kathleen and the former governor — a self-described pragmatic Democrat —for situations they'll likely face, this show will take off.

Kathleen knows the value of hard work. While that might sound trite in today's culture — where there's a deep sense of entitlement — she'll be more than prepared for each show.

Spitzer, meantime, brings another dimension to the show. Prior to his election as governor of one the country's biggest states, which happens to be the home to one of the world's leading financial centers, Spitzer spent eight years as New York's attorney general.

While his political career was undone by a serious lapse in judgment, Spitzer's experience in trying to keep the country's financial markets safe is nothing to snub at.

Hopefully, he will use the show to share any insight he gained from his stint as AG to talk about the financial markets. Certainly, I'll welcome his knowledge.





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