“Mommybloggers” on the Today Show

(I’m using quotation marks around “Mommybloggers”, because that’s what Hoda Kotb did this morning– except hers were the air kind.)

I found out about an upcoming segment on the Today Show featuring some of my favorite bloggers, and tuned in this morning just in time to see it.

It was the weirdest dang thing.

The first part, pre-recorded interviews with Kristin of ‘Motherhood Uncensored’, Mir of ‘Woulda Shoulda Coulda’ and Jill from ‘Silicon Valley Moms ‘blog, went well enough. Word around the momosphere is that the interviewer, NBC news correspondent Janet Shamlian, was really great– interested, well-informed, empathetic. The segment felt a little rushed, but there were some good shots from BlogHer mentioning the ‘business’  (geez, I am all about the single and double quotation marks today, aren’t I?!) side of blogging, and some personal stories about experiences each blogger has had with feedback from readers, etc. But even that part felt like it wasn’t edited very well, because they referred to some things in passing that you truly would have to had read the blog entries to really understand what they were talking about. The next part of the segment was a studio interview with Hoda and Kathie Lee Gifford, featuring the biggest star of the mommyblogging world, Heather of dooce.com. And that’s when it all went wonky!

Kathie Lee– whom I have actually met and interviewed and really kinda liked– was either incredibly nervous, or woke up with a big ol’ chip on her shoulder, or something. She started the interview by announcing that she knew nothing about computers, didn’t like them, and basically didn’t remotely understand what blogging even was, much less who these women were and what they did. I may not be Barbara Walters, but even I know you don’t start an interview by exposing your ignorance and lack of research to the interviewee! Heather, to her credit, handled it well and soldiered on, trying to explain the point of mommyblogging and its value in building a community that helps moms feel less isolated and alone. Then there were the usual questions about “Isn’t this exploiting your child?” and “What if she grows up and hates you for it?” and “Aren’t you worried that putting her picture on your blog might get her kidnapped?” Heather gave reasonable, well-thought-out answers and didn’t roll her eyes once. The most awkward part came towards the end, when Kathie Lee, out of nowhere, said something to the effect that she didn’t really know why but even though Heather seemed to be “a very nice lady”, something about the whole mommyblogging thing really bothered and worried her, admitting that it was probably due to her lack of knowledge/fear about computers in general. Heather, trying to find common ground, began to give an example by saying, “Well, you have to be careful just walking down the street, I mean– OK, you live in New York, right? And…” I suppose she was going to say something about the city being dangerous, but you learn how to be careful and then make some analogy to cyberspace and being careful online… but she never got that far. Kathie Lee jumped in and with a gleeful, triumphant look crowed, “No, I don’t — See, GOTCHA Heather!!”


(I guess she lives in Connecticut..?)

Heather nervously laughed and said, “Well, but you work…” Kathie Lee interrupted again and in a strange, little girl voice said something like, “…and if I did, I’d have a terrace, and guess what Heather– I’d want to learn how to make an outdoor room, which we’re about to do when we come back!” and then she smiled this big smarmy smile and said, “Well, thank you so much Heather, it was such a pleasure to meet you!” simultaneously dismissing her, ending the interview and cutting to commercial. WTH??? The last shot of Heather shows her covering her face with her hand and shaking her head back and forth, laughing incredulously at the sheer dumb-assery of what she had just experienced.

I’m sure the mommyblogging world will be all a-twitter about it for a day or two, and then we’ll all shrug our collective shoulders. Just like the last time the Today show had a mommyblogger segment a few months ago with Melissa of “Suburban Bliss”… That one deteriorated quickly when Meredith Viera– who ought to know better for crying out loud, she co-founded Club Mom– tried to turn a lighthearted look at ‘cocktail playdates’ (which is basically just a silly phrase for moms having a glass of wine with other moms  while their kids play in the yard) into a debate about The Dangers of Alcoholism! Irresponsible Mothers! Crazed Drunken Moms Invading a Playground Near You! It was such a ridiculously unnecessary attempt to stir up faux-controversy, and it virtually ignored the subject of mommyblogging, which was supposed to be the point of the piece. I guess we’ll all just have to resign ourselves to the fact that there will always be  people out there who fundamentally just don’t get what we do. Which is weird to me, I mean, it’s not rocket science– it’s just a group of parents/writers who are reaching out and communicating with others about whatever phase of life they currently find themselves in; the good, the bad, and the funny. And I, for one, am so grateful that the mommyblogging world exists– whether I’m reading or writing, it has enriched my life. And Kathie Lee? Honey, seriously, chill out.

(photos courtesy of www.msnbc.com)

10 Responses

  1. LindaB

    Well, ain’t it just like those “celebrity” reporters to screw up a perfectly good interview by injecting their own bias and ignorance!! So many times I’ve turned in for an interview of someone I thought would be interesting, only to left saying, “HEY! WHY DIDN’T YOU ASK THEM THIS OR THAT AND THEN LET THEM TALK ABOUT IT UNINTERRUPTED?” Tori, did you get the feeling that Ms. Gifford was all about coming across as witty and entertaining—and forget about the person being interviewed? I think a good interviewer should totally forget about themselves and simply draw out the person being interviewed. Makes sense? Duh! Some people just don’t make good interviewers.

    Then there are those interviewers that are just itching to stir up some controversy—at the expense of reason. I hate that! It’s like dealing with a teenager on a family vacation—–very tricky business.

    I think one of the best interviewers on TV is Robin Roberts of G.M.A.

    I must confess my ignorance here as well—–I don’t know any of the bloggers you mentioned. I’ve gotta start investigating this world of blogging. I’m afraid it’s one more thing to keep me from scrubbing the bathroom floor and keeping up with the laundry though.

  2. LindaB

    I just watched the interview on “TODAY’S” website, and you’re right, it sucks.

    I also read some of Heather’s blog and she’s hilarious—–like you, Tori!

  3. auburn60

    Wait a minute–Kathie Lee maybe being concerned about too much info. being out there about one’s children? When we have heard about every diaper change and dentist appointment Cody and Cassidy ever had? The irony of that doesn’t need a pithy comment from me.

  4. LindaB

    Hey, that’s right!!!

  5. tori

    I gotta tell you, it was that bizarre segue at the very end that was the weirdest part of all to me– what WAS that? I made Russ watch it and his comment was, “Wow, something about dooce seems to really threaten Kathie Lee!” And you are so right about her kids- what is different about talking about them and showing their photos on national TV for crying out loud?! Lots more potential perverts saw that than read mommyblogs!

  6. LOpitz

    Aunt Tori!! So I finally found this site and love it!! Speaking of Kathie Lee though. I love the Today Show and watch is every morning but when she comes on I just can’t watch it. So annoying. Im currently watching the Today Show and am quite embarrassed though. They brought on the Duggars, the family who have 17 kids, and just announced the lady is pregnant with #18. What a great way to represent Arkansas. Gag me. anyhow. Love you and miss you!!!

  7. tori

    YAY, you found me– come back often, OK?
    And yeah, the Duggars kind of scare me. I mean, there have been other big families in the history of the universe, shoot, go to Salt Lake City and you’ll find 17-child families all over the dang place, but for some reason THIS one gets so much press. It’s not fair for me to judge them, I know, but there’s just something about those mall bangs and jacked-up-cheerful kind of blank smile on the mom that totally creeps me out…

  8. auburn60

    What is it about that family? They are like a car wreck–you just can’t look away. The hair,the clothes, the tater-tot caserole….
    But they are one-up on me–they live debt-free.

  9. auburn60

    Make that ‘casserole’–one word I should surely be able to spell.

  10. LOpitz

    I also think that every child’s name begins with a ‘J’. 17 dang J names would be hard to come up with. Now they have to come up with another. Yikes. Also- pregnancy is going good!! Feeling pretty good, just still get kindof tired. Starting to get a tiny little bump too. Pretty crazy watching my body change so much, and hello boobs! Man alive. Aside from absolutely killing me, its nice to not be an A for a change. haha. I go to the doctor again next week but we won’t be able to find out until our June appt. Love you and miss you all!! Any trips to Arkansas soon? I dont know when we’ll get there since we’re now in Texas and 10 hours away but we’ll see!

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