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The ‘Subliminal Message’ Behind David Muir’s Ascent to ‘World News’ Anchor

david muirCome September, three white men will anchor the three network evening newscasts. Is it 2005 — or 1975 — all over again? Some think so.

“The evening news anchors are the face of the network,” says Karen Turner, an associate professor of journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia, whose research focuses on race in the news. “In this growing multicultural nation, it’s unconscionable that as of September three white men will lead their respective networks.”

Brian Williams, 55, has been anchor of “NBC Nighty News” since 2004, he took over for Tom Brokaw who had been anchor since 1982, and John Chancellor before that. Scott Pelley, who turns 57 next month, has been at the helm of “CBS Evening News” since May, 2011. That broadcast was anchored by Katie Couric for the previous 5 years, and by Bob Schieffer, Dan Rather (briefly paired with Connie Chung) and Walter Cronkite in earlier years.

Muir, 40, takes over for Diane Sawyer who has been anchor since 2009. Sawyer came in following the retirement of Charles Gibson who, in 2006, succeeded the anchor team of Bob Woodruff and Elizabeth Vargas. The Woodfuff-Vargas pairing lasted only a few weeks following the serious injuries sustained by Woodruff in an attack in Iraq.

“Certainly Pelley, Williams and now Muir are accomplished journalists,” Turner adds. “However, the subliminal message this sends is these — white males — are the legitimate faces that should represent America.”

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