(This interview has been edited for clarity and length.)
Q: I'm sure you're consuming all the news coverage, right?
A: You know, I read most of it. I actually don’t watch a ton of TV. I really read stuff on my phone and on my iPad. I rely on The Washington Post and the New York Times. I read USA Today. I see a lot of interesting posts on Medium. The Wall Street Journal, Wired, the Hill, Politico, Axios, Huffington Post.
Q: Dear lord, you read everything, right?
A: Well, I mean that I read articles from all of those publications. It breaks my heart that people watching this are saying fake news. They’ve been brainwashed, unfortunately. You know, as I always say, presidents don’t like the news media. But by and large, the job of the news media is to speak truth to power and hold our elected officials accountable. So it breaks my heart that what I think is critically important to a democracy — the profession of journalism — is being debased and demeaned.
I do believe, though, that the press has become too opinionated and it’s more commentary and analysis than actual reporting. And I think that’s why people are sometimes still seeking an affirmation instead of information when they go to their favorite news outlets. And that is problematic.
Q: Are there things you found during this time that you need to do in your day to feel better or to cope? Because there's a psychic toll that this takes on us not being able to operate the way we normally would socially.
A: Well, I’ve been checking in with my friends, especially my friends who are single and live alone, because that’s very difficult. I’ve also been trying to exercise regularly. I’m going to try to take a yoga class tonight online. We’ve been having fun because there are six of us here: my daughter Carrie; my assistant, Adriana, who lives in Palm Springs and we adopted her; my other daughter, Ellie, is in L.A.; my husband’s son, Henry, and his girlfriend, Candace; and my husband [John Molner] and I.
We all take turns cooking dinner at night. And we’ve made some really delicious meals. I’m getting so fat, but whatever. As I said, I’m trying to exercise. I’m trying to do some deep breathing.
Q: I hear you're working on a memoir. How far along are you?
A: About halfway. I have to be done probably by the end of June. And I’m not getting it done because I’m spending my time talking to nice people like you, Geoff. I’m going to have to get down to serious brass tacks. So that’s going to keep me very busy.
I’ve really poured my heart and soul into this book. I’m reliving some moments that were really hard. You know, it’s almost like vomiting your life out on the page. It’s also like a very long therapy session.
Q: I think about how much the world has changed for women, and how much you, as a professional woman in the public eye, must have gone through. Are you going to get into that in your book?
A: The world has changed dramatically. And what I think is interesting is I’m writing this against largely a backdrop between 1979 and 2020 — so 40 years and the life of American women writ large and sort of my personal story as it unfolded. I think about what the world was like for people professionally, for women in particular, in 1979 when I graduated from college. And how much has changed, even really in the last couple of years, in terms of a deeper understanding of not only sexual harassment, but also misogyny and toxic workplace cultures in general.
So a lot of it is going to focus on my experiences as the first solo female anchor on an evening newscast, which was very difficult, much more difficult than I ever imagined. I thought we were really in a post-sexist society, and I learned very quickly that could not have been further from the truth.
Q: How do you deal with criticism now?
A: I actually am used to it now. But it took me a long time, and I think it’s still hurtful when someone says something really mean about you. Also, if you feel like you’re completely misunderstood or if you feel you are not given the credit you deserve. People think automatically because you’re fun and have a personality or a sense of humor, that somehow you’re vacuous and shallow and not particularly intelligent. They have a very difficult time understanding the multi-dimensionality of individuals and the fact that they can be many things at once and not necessarily put into a box.