As Rebecca Traister noted back in October, 2008 has been a landmark year for American newswomen like Rachel Maddow, Campbell Brown and Katie Couric. But Barbara Walters, the woman who paved the way for this trio and many of their predecessors, has had a pretty damn impressive year herself. This spring, she published a bestselling memoir that's already garnered mentions on critics' "best of 2008" lists, and "The View," the daytime talk show that is Walters' brainchild, aired some of the most daring and intelligent political conversations of the election season.
And last night, on her annual "10 Most Fascinating People" special, Walters showed a glimpse of the bravery and tenacity that characterized her nightly news tenure. She didn't pull punches in her interview (check out the video at Jezebel) with the perennially odious Rush Limbaugh, holding him accountable for a particularly disgusting comment he made about Hillary Clinton earlier this year. "Does the country actually want to watch a woman get older on a daily basis, before their eyes?" he had asked.
Here's Walters' unflinching response:
"You have watched me get older on a daily basis. Sarah Palin, who you love, is going to get older on a daily basis. Men get older on a daily basis. What's with you, Rush?"
It may not have been the most insightful or complicated question of Walters' career, but it is one that millions of Americans -- male and female -- would have loved to hear the answer to. Unfortunately, instead of responding, Limbaugh mumbled some nonsense about how "tolerant" and "lovable" he is in real life. Uh, sure. I guess we'll have to take his word for it.