Media Beat: ALL-STARS TAKE THE FIELD
by Normon Solomon
American Reporter Correspondent
WASHINGTON -- A few summers ago, baseball's All-Star Game inspired me to=
compile a roster of the nation's foremost media players. Now it's that tim= e of year again; I've reviewed my lineup of media stars -- and guess what? =
Except for the designated hitter, they're all still at the top of their = games!
So, here is America's beloved Media All-Star Team of 2001:
Starting Pitcher: Cokie Roberts
Tossing a classic mix of curveballs and changeups, Roberts can baffle an= yone with more than a superficial knowledge of American history. Her delive= ry, like her wisdom, is utterly conventional.
Reliever: Christopher Matthews
The spinning pitchman of "Hardball" on cable television, Matthews curren= tly makes frequent use of the spitter when the wind is at his back. Formerl= y a nominal lefty, he is now proudly ambidextrous.
Closer: George Will
This hurler has cultivated an elaborate windup. Yet he can also throw a = mean fastball from a stretch position. Will specializes in wide curves that= nick the right edge of the plate. Catchers dread handling his arch-knuckle= r -- and sometimes get embarrassed when Will argues that even his wild pitc= hes are strikes. If riled, he resorts to the beanball.
Leadoff Batter: Jim Lehrer
His lackadaisical "News Hour" style belies the fact that Lehrer is adept= at the well-placed bunt and beats many throws from across the diamond. Boo= sted by multi-year endorsement contracts from the agribusiness giant Archer= Daniels Midland, he's an excellent corporate-team player.
Cleanup Batter: Dan Rather
Off at the crack of a bat, Rather can stretch a cliche into a stand-up t= riple. He often hits line drives up the middle.
Designated Hitter: Patrick Buchanan
Known as a "Ty Cobb wannabe" for his flashing spikes and surly manner, t= his slugger always swings for the fences. Crouched far to the right side of= the plate, Buchanan doesn't seem to mind that he rarely connects. Dugout m= ates say he complains that batting was much more enjoyable before the days = of Roy Campanella. (Although Buchanan has been benched a lot lately, he rem= ains a media all-star because many key players go back a long way with him.= )
Center Fielder: Barbara Walters
This consummate pro has decades of experience playing shallow center fie= ld. While she defends her turf in the sunny outfield, observers have become= heavy-lidded to the point of somnolence.
Left Fielder: Michael Kinsley
Affable and almost erudite, Kinsley has the unfortunate habit of roaming= the middle of the outfield for most of each game, thus leaving vast expans= es vacant. Some people swear that he has never come near the left-field lin= e, even to snag a simple pop-up.
Right Fielder: Rush Limbaugh
Limbaugh, who likes to hug the right-field line, boasts of many putouts = in foul territory. However, he is rued by umpires, who find him abusive and= prone to hallucinations.
Shortstop: David Gergen
At bat, Gergen is a deft switch hitter. Wearing a mitt, he's a fast man = in the pivot -- able to pull off a double play with dazzling agility that m= akes all his maneuvering look easy. Fans marvel that he always seems to lan= d on his feet.
Catcher: Mike Wallace
This seasoned receiver knows how to call the signals without antagonizin= g the front office.
Pinch Hitter: Katie Couric
Nice and savvy enough to be safe when it counts, Couric makes every "Tod= ay" look professional, even when sliding around without purpose.
Manager: Bill Gates
If winning is the bottom line and sharing can be understood as market sh= are, then Gates is a great guy to run the team.
Bat Boy: John Journalist
Nat Girl: Jane Journalist
Team Mascot: Merrill Lynch
Team Owner: Rupert Murdoch
Stadium: Disney-AOL TimeWarner-News Corp-GeneralElectric-Viacom P=
The media All-Stars wouldn't think of playing the game anywhere else.
Norman Solomon's latest book is "The Habits of Highly Deceptive Media." = His syndicated column focuses on media and politics.