Cokie Roberts

Inside Media: Cokie Roberts

May 10, 2009

Guest: Cokie Roberts

By Lesette R. Heath, special programs coordinator

There are few legends in broadcast journalism like Cokie Roberts — classy, honest, engaging, and with a wry sense of humor.

In the last 40 years, Roberts has accumulated a laundry list of credits, from working at ABC News and National Public Radio, to writing a weekly syndicated column with her husband, fellow journalist Steve Roberts. But the best-selling author and three-time Emmy winner never intended to work in the field.

"I happened upon a job straight out of college," Roberts said, "and through a series of events, I ended up anchoring a Sunday talk show when I was 21." She joked: "I don’t seem to have gone very far."

Roberts grew up surrounded by "very powerful, political women" who did everything from organizing party conventions to running their husbands’ campaigns. Watching them led to her interest in chronicling the country’s founding mothers in two of her best-selling books.

Recently, she found the 2008 election coverage of Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton "sexist" and "dispiriting," especially the news media’s line of questioning and the criticism over Palin’s attire.

"I don’t care for the way women are treated in modern-day politics," but their ancestors endured far worse, Roberts said.

On a positive note, she doesn’t worry much about the future of news like so many others.

"I’m asked that question every single place I go," she said. "The truth is that none of us knows the answer. What is encouraging and true is that more people are eager to consume news than ever before."

What about that other often-asked question about her former "This Week" co-anchor Sam Donaldson?

"I have ruined his reputation by going around town and telling vicious truths. Sam really is one of the kindest and thoughtful people that I’ve ever known," she said.

Roberts signed copies of her book "Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation" after the program.

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