Veteran broadcaster Carole Simpson took to Facebook this weekend to express her sadness and anger in not being invited to celebrate Barbara Walters’ retirement.
“I wonder why I wasn’t included among the two dozen network newswomen and anchors who feted Barbara Walters at a private party and then on “The View?” We both worked at NBC and ABC at the same times,” Simpson posted publicly on her Facebook page. “She is my idol and I believe she knows that. At first I was very sad and now I am very mad. I guess ABC News, after my 24 years there, still considers me persona non grata.”
As it turns out, ABC News had nothing to do with the invitations, Chris Ariens reported on Monday for TVNewser.com. “It was left to ‘The View’ producers to compile the list,” Ariens wrote. Other women who might have been, but weren’t included in “The View’s” tribute include PBS news anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff.
Walters, 84, signed off the air on Friday, capping a week-long retirement celebration. Oprah Winfrey, Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts, Lara Spencer, Elizabeth Vargas, Deborah Roberts, Katie Couric, Savannah Guthrie, Tamron Hall, Maria Shriver, Kathie Lee Gifford, Cynthia McFadden, Hoda Kotb, Jane Pauley, Gayle King, Deborah Norville, Paula Zahn, Connie Chung, Joan Lunden and several other television personalities were on hand to bid Walters a fond farewell on her last day on “The View,” according to a Los Angeles Times report.
Walters became the first female network co-anchor in 1974, the first network evening news co-anchor in 1976, and the first woman to moderate a presidential debate in 1984; she is now retiring after 50 years in television. Like Walters, Simpson is also a pioneer and broke barriers in journalism. Simpson, 72, became the first African-American female news anchor in 1988, and she was also the first minority female journalist to moderate a presidential debate in 1992. Simpson retired from ABC in 2006.
A year ago when Walters first announced her retirement, Simpson spoke glowingly about her former colleague on CNN; she also revealed an important piece of advice Walters gave to her:
Walters’ week-long retirement celebration ended Friday night with a two-hour special on ABC.