Meredith Vieira must regret the day she agreed to do the cocktail playdate segment. Based on a NY Times story about mothers who have a glass of wine while their kids play, the segment included a field piece, shot in Encino, with Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of Sippy Cups are not for Chardonnay. The in-studio guests were Dr. Janet Taylor, a pyschiatrist, and blogger Melissa Summers, inventor of the momtini.
Once in the studio, Vieira really went after Summers, who responded with a lot of eye rolling–she sounded fine, but looked pissed. Dr. Taylor, quite the professional guest, told the folks at home that moms who drink in front of their children are raising alcoholics. We exaggerate, but you get the idea. Vieira really should be ashamed of herself–not just for sandbagging Summers, but for doing such a feeble segment.
Producer Alicia Ybarbo, as well as Vieira, had worked on The View, where yelling and screaming spell tv magic. (Come to think of it, mommies who tipple would be a great show for The View.) Vieira, a founder of ClubMom.com, asked Summers if she’d let a baby-sitter drink while on the job. Remember when Meredith Vieira used to be a journalist?
FBLA contacted both Summers and Wilder-Taylor. Wilder-Taylor thought that NBC treated her well and had no complaints.
Melissa Summers replied to our questions:
What did they tell you to get you to do the show?
The producer seemed to be in agreement on what a silly issue this is. We talked at length about it, about how it’s not a new trend. It’s women being adults while caring for children which we’ve been doing for
years and years. And hey! Our husbands do it all the time without reporters ever asking them ‘What it means….” She also told me this would not ‘be a debate’ and the psychologist was only there to set limits of what is or isn’t ‘problem drinking’
Over time her idea of what was ‘problem drinking’ changed a bit, in updates it sounded to me like she was becoming concerned about not promoting drinking as a pro. But still, it seemed from my producer’s
statements she still understood the difference between alcohol use and abuse.
Did the producer pre-interview you?
She sent me a list of 10-15 questions, not a single one was about the ‘risks’ of this behavior. It was all about explaining my point of view which is this: This is silly. A drink with friends is not newsworthy.
Did you know who the other guest would be with you?
Yes. I googled her and didn’t find much of anything of substance to tell me her stance. Looking a little deeper at some of her writings, she is a ‘stress management’ expert and one of her suggestions was to
‘read a trashy novel to unwind’. Which makes me think of my grandmother giving me advice. I mean, a trashy novel? How naughty!
There’s this myth that Mommies don’t know their limits and need to be steered. It’s really so agitating.
And Vieira (or more likely, an assistant) wrote a post about the segment for iVillage, claiming
In no way was I trying to be “anti-mom”
Keep telling yourself that, honey.