The Dangers of Bifurcating Your Business
In 2007, ABC News and Charles Gibson squeaked out a victory over Brian Williams on NBC. Both left Katie Couric of CBS a distant third.
When Charles Gibson was a host on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” I liked his loosey-goosey, laid-back demeanor and obvious ease as an interviewer in front of the camera and bantering with Diane Sawyer.
With the switch to ABC’s “World News Tonight,” where he replaced the urbane, upbeat Peter Jennings, Gibson seems to have purposely changed his “Good Morning America” persona. At first he became the kindly country doctor of my childhood—Hop Allison—who used to make house calls.
Lately I find Gibson to be a doleful presence, presiding with all the charm of a funeral director over a program that has morphed into a handmaiden of Big Pharma. The anchor presides over a cavalcade of advertisements for prescription and OTC drugs and other health-related wares while tossing in a little news to give some legitimacy to this seedy enterprise.
Could your business also be a victim of bifurcation—like a big bird flying in ever decreasing circles until it disappears up its own cloaca?
The greatest American newscaster of the modern era was Walter Cronkite. When my father was alive, watching the “CBS Evening News” was a nightly ritual.
Weekday evenings at 6:29 p.m. during the 1960s and ‘70s, my father would glance at his watch, put down his scotch-and-soda and go turn on the television set. “Time for Walter the Cronk,” he would say cheerily.
Everybody loved Walter Cronkite. He was revered as “the most trusted man in America.” Combining seriousness and charm, he was dubbed “the only honest face on TV” by Art Buchwald.
“Walter Cronkite’s consistency and integrity transformed television from a novelty into the primary news source for millions of Americans,” wrote Dan Rottenberg in American Journalism Review. “During Cronkite’s 19-year tenure as anchor of the CBS Evening News, his trademark sign-off, ‘And that’s the way it is,’ became more familiar to many Americans than the Lord’s Prayer.”