I was going to skip this week to focus on getting ready for the holidays, but I can’t without writing this letter.
Dear Charlie Rose,
You let me down. There’s no easy way to say it. You let me down. You filled in a news void with solid reporting, the ability to interview without talking over your guest, participating in discussions. You were respectful to your colleagues on CBS This Morning. You didn’t yell or use invectives. Your voice was calm and sincere. It was a lie.
I switched to CBS This Morning the day Matt Lauer got rid of Ann Curry. I found a new home every morning. I didn’t make you into a hero, but I did listen and respect your positions. I didn’t much like Charlie Rose The Week, because it was too shallow. I watched Charlie Rose on PBS. That black room with the black table, one interviewer and usually one, maybe two, guests was an ideal setting for your interviews. It hid a lie.
Had anyone told me you would be swept up in #MeToo, I’d have laughed and walked away. Then, you were swept up. CBS asked questions and fired you. PBS asked questions and cancelled your shows. I wept with Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell when they had to report on the mess of allegations of sexual harassment. They were even more gobsmacked than I was. After all, they worked with you every day and believed in you. I watched you every day and believed in you. I don’t any more. You let me down.
I didn’t see you as a hero, but as a decent man who respected women. You lied to me. I thought you were upstanding. You let me down. You acknowledged your bad behavior. Sort of. Yes, you acknowledged you had behaved inappropriately. “It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior. I am greatly embarrassed. I have behaved insensitively at times, and I accept responsibility for that.”
Okay, so far, so good, except you made your apology all about your embarrassment and insensitive behavior. You went too far: “…I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken.”
That end was not an apology. It was an excuse for your behavior. It was as inappropriate as your original behavior. It demeaned the women who stepped forward. I hope you can really accept that what you did was wrong. I hope you can find ways to make amends through actions.
Yes, Charlie Rose, you let me down. You lied to me.