Tomorrow morning the Houston Public Library is bringing in Cokie Roberts to talk about her book We Are Our Mothers' Daughters, which is somehow not subtitled (In Case You Were Wondering).
We've never been big fans of Roberts; on the Sunday talk shows she's seemed to be pretty much Queen of the Conventional DC Wisdom.
But one guy who really doesn't like her is Slate's media critic Jack Shafer. And today, just in time to welcome her to Houston and pump up interest in her appearance, he lets loose.
His piece is entitled "Perfectly Obvious Cokie," and for her fans, at least, it goes downhill from there. Speaking of her analyst gig on NPR, Shafer writes:
"I can think of no comparably sized media space that's as void of original insight and information as Roberts'," he writes. "Her segments, though billed as 'analysis' by NPR, do little but speed-graze the headlines and add a few grace notes. If you're vaguely conversant with current events, you're already cruising at Roberts' velocity."
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Shafer says there was exactly one time in Roberts' recent NPR bloviating when she ws not soporific:
The only time Roberts has come alive on radio in the past year was last month, during a Weekend Edition appearance. She wasn't there to analyze the news but to participate in what, for all intents and purposes, was a four-minute, 36-second infomercial for the updated edition of her 10-year-old book We Are Our Mothers' Daughters. But even that spot was filled with platitudes, clichés, and the obvious.