On Monday afternoon Fox News aired a segment between anchor Neil Cavuto and nutritionist Keren Gilbert about Adele and Kelly Clarkson. The segment ran for about five minutes and focused on barely anything about the two women’s accomplishments, but instead whether or not they are too fat.
So what did we learn from this segment? Three things:
1. The term newsworthy is clearly one they have never heard
Ok so this might be a no-brainer to some, but honestly doesn’t Fox have to at least pretend it’s a newscast? I mean what executive producer thought this would make a good story? I understand wanting to talk about the recent Grammy Awards. I get the role ratings play in broadcast news and the struggle to connect with viewers who have slightly shorter and perhaps less sophisticated attention spans. But to just randomly select two of the most talented and popular women in the music industry and not review their musical accomplishments, but rather pick apart their bodies is really just disgraceful.
What’s more is that Fox barely tried to relate the two singers to a story about nutrition. The framework of the whole interview was based on a tweet from someone named @cSwiggz! Anchor Neil Cavuto did nothing to move the conversation in a meaningful direction, and instead just hurled one non sequitur after another at his guest, Keren Gilbert. The entire segment started under the premise that if the singers walked into Gilbert’s office in New York she would tell them they were fat for x, y, and z reasons. Well guess what? They didn’t ask for your opinion, and in fact both Kelly and Adele have publicly admitted they are very proud of their weight. Once upon a time news had standards, and strict rules for how to tell a story and conduct an interview. This segment resembled two high school girls gossiping in a locker room more than news.
2. Fox News has no respect for women
Personal opinions aside, both Adele and Clarkson are extremely successful leading ladies. Adele’s second album 21 has literally broken records for how many collective awards it has won. She’s been named Billboard’s artist of the year two years in a row, just won a Golden Globe, and her song "Skyfall" has been nominated for best original song at the Oscars. Kelly’s single Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) has sold over four million copies in the UK and US alone, she is the only artist to have won Best Pop Vocal Album at the Grammy’s twice, and she got to sing at Obama’s inauguration. But all Fox seemed notice was their waistlines.
Perhaps the worst (or most confusing) part of the interview was how the nutritionist kept reiterating that the two women were actually really beautiful just the way they are right before she would explain why they were actually too fat. When all you reference about two women who are so wildly talented is their diets, you show that your network is chauvinistic and disrespectful. Since when does every woman have to resemble a Victoria Secret model? Maybe weight would mean something if in fact these women were models, but their professional accomplishments have everything to do with what is inside, not out.
3. Fox News makes statements with little-to-no factual basis
Perhaps the most telling moment was this one:
CAVUTO: But see, what I mean is that if we put that on young women in this country and we say you have to look like this—
GILBERT: Well, we are also a nation of excuses where we have processed food we’re always struggling with — and people are saying, look at Adele and saying, hey look at what she has accomplished. I could be overweight like her. I don’t need to address these issues in my life.
Oh really? Look these two women are as popular as they are for many reasons. They have amazing voices, they are hardworking, and write truthful lyrics. But above all they relate to their audiences. Many of both Adele's and Clarkson's songs are about strength, empowerment, the trials of love, and persevering through difficult times. The notion that these women are bad role models because young girls are saying, oh hey I can be fat like them, is completely ludicrous. If anything, girls are saying THANK GOD I have role models that look like me, that relate to my life. When I asked my ten year old sister why she likes both of these singers she said because their songs are fun and make her feel invincible. So Fox News, next time you claim what young girls are saying, why don’t you ask one first.