NEWSWATCH by Thomas Griffith: America's Own Cult of Personality

Newswatch/Thomas Griffin

The marketing of personality is changing from a cottage to a growth industry. Johnny, Merv, Mike, Dick and Kup go on forever, with their interchangeable guests. Barbara Walters gives up anchoring for the interviewing she's better at, PEOPLE magazine is a spectacular success.

The trend coincides with a current journalistic emphasis, even in the respectables, on what is interesting, against what is important. (The important may make a comeback in news interest but at the moment lacks either the urgency of danger or the stimulus of hope.) Recognizing this shift, politicians constantly conduct polls about their image and resist...

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