The second Barbara Walters special, on Channel 7 from 10 to 11 tonight, illustrates thedifference between the informative and the decorative interview.
We have Elizabeth Taylor and John Warner in the first segment: the Shah and the Empress of Iran in the second, and Rep. Barbara Jordan (D-Texas) in the third.
Each interview is decorative in the sanse that it is nice to look at and listen to, without telling us, what its subjects are really like.
The only new piece of information from Warner and Taylor is that if he runs for the U.S. Senate from Virginia next year, they will campaign as a "team."
While it may occur to some that "team" is a four letter word, Walters has no doubts about the meaning of the terms. She says "They're an attractive team. They remind one of an early Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn movie with the roles reversed." That's what the lady said. I leave it to the viewer to figure out which is which.
There is little to say about the interview with the Shah and Empress of Iran other than that it is decorative. We learn that the Shah thinks women are inferior to men in most departments, and that no one dares question his wisdom, which is a nice touch for a political divinity that has behind it the legitimacy of about 50 years.
But it is the interview with Barbara Jordan that raises one's hackles. Walters fosters - and Jordan does nothing to correct - the impression that the lady from Houston was denied the post of Attorney General because she is a black woman, and that this would have affornted Carter's white supporters in the South.
This is nonsense. Jordan was never in the running for the post because there were hundreds of individuals - black and white, men and women - who were far more qualified. The fostering of this false impression is perfectly consistent with the aims of the decorative, as against the informative, interview.