Former Today anchor Bryant Gumbel, who co-hosted the program from 1982 to 1997, told The Daily Beast‘s Howard Kurtz he was “embarrassed” by Sarah Palin‘s appearance on the show last week.
“(Hosts) used to be judged not just on their popularity level but the extent to which they were capable of interviewing someone or reporting on a situation, or able to have a degree of gravitas,” Gumbel lamented. “Now that is secondary to being popular.”
While Palin’s Today Show co-hosting stint boosted viewership up from Monday to 5.5 million viewers, the move was panned by several media critics, perhaps most notably Jon Stewart who spent nearly 10 minutes last week lambasting her performance.
“You’re pretending this whole appearance is some uncommonly ballsy way of sticking it to the lamestream media,” Stewart said. “It’s just another place for you to tout your brand of homespun nonsense unchallenged!”
Watch some of Palin’s appearance from last week’s show, via NBC:
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