Barbara Walters On Reasoner, Safer, Money

By Chris Ariens 

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As she makes the rounds to sell her new memoir, Audition, Barbara Walters is the subject of a June Vanity Fair spread titled “Ms. Walters Reflects.” That’s her looking in the mirror of her dressing room at The View, with photography by Mark Seliger. Some excerpted highlights of Audition in VF:

On her terrible relationship with Harry Reasoner:

“The blood was so bad between us…that Harry’s cronies on the crew took to using a stopwatch to note my airtime. If I did a segment that ran three minutes and 25 seconds, Harry would demand that he do a piece three minutes and 25 seconds long. Harry’s hostility soon began to show on the air. I remember reaching toward him at the end of one broadcast, in a friendly manner, just to touch him on the arm. He recoiled, physically recoiled, in front of millions of people.”

We’re pretty sure Star Jones recoiled once or twice, too. Anyway, after the jump, Babs on Morley Safer and being the”million dollar baby”…

On Morley Safer who once did radio commentary in addition to his 60 Minutes duties:

Walters’s first special included an interview with President-Elect Jimmy Carter. She closed with: “Be wise with us, Governor. Be good to us.” Safer criticized Walters saying, “The interview with Governor Carter is really what ended Ms. Walters’ brief career as a journalist and placed her firmly in the ranks of…what? The Merv Griffins and Johnny Carsons? What right does any reporter have to issue such a benediction? It is as if Mr. Carter had just become Louis XIV and, without Pope Barbara’s admonition, he might be dumb with us and mean to us.”

How her million-dollar salary sent some TV News salaries skyward:

“The press was relentless on the million-dollar baby, or, more, the $5 million baby. Then there were my television colleagues. ‘Is Barbara a journalist or is she Cher?’ asked Richard Salant, the president of CBS News. Cronkite echoed his boss’s views, claiming he had experienced ‘the sickening sensation that we were all going under.’ But you know what? Almost every television journalist, including Harry Reasoner, walked into his boss’s office, demanded a raise, and got it. Well, you’re welcome.”