NBC news correspondent Jenna Bush Hager had a news exclusive. And, like news exclusives in the Era of Infotainment TV, this one was broadcast by the entertainment division. Specifically, Jenna Bush interviewed her mother, Laura Bush, on 38th episode of "The Jay Leno Show."
It makes no difference what the questions or answers were. Journalism hasn't been a priority of television for a long time. What matters is that a network hired someone with no background into a job with an income substantially above what most journalists earn. Jenna Bush isn't the only one to parlay dubious credentials onto network television. Beauty pageants--it makes no difference if it's the Miss Rutabaga or Miss America contests--are full of contestants who say their ambition is to be a TV anchor--or an actress, whichever comes first.
Now, Jenna Bush, in her mid-20s, had also become a best-selling author, something that rarely happens even to the best writers. HarperCollins, owned by Rupert Murdoch of Fox News fame, printed an initial 500,000 copies of Ana's Story in 2007. The press run was about 100 times greater than the average run of a first book by even a good writer. A year later, HarperCollins published a children's book co-written by Jenna Bush and Laura Bush, who promoted their books on the major talk shows, including "The Tonight Show, with Jay Leno." Thousands of publicists and authors literally beg to get network exposure. Most books that do get published can be found in the remainder bins--or recycling bins -- within a year of publication--if the author is fortunate enough to even secure a contract.