Accuracy in Media

It?s not our desire to probe anybody?s personal life, but the recent cover story in the New York Post about the chronic philandering of CBS Early Show co-host Bryant Gumbel is difficult to ignore. It tells the story of Gumbel cheating on his wife, walking out on her and their two kids, and then cutting off his family?s financial support. Asked for comment on the extramarital affairs, a Gumbel lawyer told the Post, “We are delighted to acknowledge it. That is a totally gratuitous allegation.” So it appears that Bryant Gumbel ? or at least his laywer ? is an honest version of Bill Clinton. Clinton said he didn?t have sex with that woman, while Bryant Gumbel is eager to admit it.

Here?s how the Post described Gumbel?s treatment of his own wife: “At a time when Gumbel was earning an estimated $600,000 a month as co-host of CBS?s ?The Early Show?—and parading his girlfriend around Manhattan in skimpy outfits—the wife he met as a teenager, then dumped at the pinnacle of his career, worried about putting food on the table of her Westchester home.” For his part, Bryant Gumbel?s lawyer denied that he was a cheapskate and said that he had been generous in taking care of his family during the marital separation.

June Gumbel poured her heart out to Andrea Peyser of the Post, who called her the “discarded wife.” She told Peyser that she?s astounded by the coverage of the marriage breakdown, which has been reduced to a “juicy celebrity divorce.” June said, “I do not understand how the public can almost embrace infidelity. It?s almost all right for the celebrity to do that.”

Stories like this may help explain media indifference to Bill Clinton?s womanizing and why the media were opposed to his impeachment over a sex scandal. Ironically, it turns out that Gumbel has his own Hillary, although this one is not his wife. June, a devout Catholic, has been humiliated publicly as Gumbel has been seen around town with his “gal pal,” a blonde named Hilary Quinlan. Now, he?s asking a judge to allow Quinlan and him to have partial use of a home he shared with June, while June and his kids live there.

June had gone out of her way to avoid causing public relations problems for her husband. Her lawyer told USA Today that when the CBS Early Show started last fall, she wouldn?t allow any legal documents to be filed in the case. Her lawyer said, “She didn?t want to hurt his career. She?s a very decent woman. Revealing all she has to tell about him in open court [would] hurt him as a TV personality. She didn?t want to do that.”

Bryant Gumbel was the first black host of the NBC Today Show back in 1982. His abilities have been praised by some, but his political views are definitely liberal-left. Recently he interviewed radical black activist Randal Robinson, who is calling for the American taxpayers to pay billions of dollars in financial reparations to black people. This kind of interview may help explain why his “Early Show” is dead last in the ratings.

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