MediaWatch: July 1995

Vol. Nine No. 7

So Popular She Lost at the Polls

Ann Richards, NBC Darling

In her new role as weekend co-host of Today, Giselle Fernandez has acted as if she is also local chairman of the Young Democrats. On May 20, she asked Labor Secretary Robert Reich: "Why are we leaving such critical decisions up to the Republicans? Why didn't we come up with another more, perhaps, realistic deficit reduction budget plan?"

On June 18, Fernandez led a syrupy tribute to former Texas Gov. Ann Richards. "Despite her soaring popularity and role as queen of the Democratic Party, she was ousted from office in the nation's sweep to the right. Today, more than half a year since her surprising defeat, she remains as popular as ever." Fernandez did not reconcile "soaring popularity" with defeat at the polls. Fernandez showed Richards' famous 1988 "silver foot in his mouth" attack on George Bush, but instead of condemning it as divisive or mean-spirited, Fernandez followed the clip by claiming: "It was her tell-it-like-it-is candor and winning charisma that not only charmed the hearts of the nation but made her a powerful force in Washington."

Her loss only made her more endearing, proclaimed Fernandez: "Six months after her defeat, the light of this Lone Star legend doesn't seem to have dimmed one bit." Pocketing thousands for filming a Doritos commercial wasn't cashing in on her fame: "If she's not hosting talk shows, she's talking to schools or making Super Bowl ads that prove she has no chip on her shoulder."