The one-sided feud between the ever eccentric and colorful Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly of Fox News has brought female journalists into the spotlight. Donald crossed a line in the eyes of many except his most hardened supporters, with his infamous “Blood” comments, which many construed to be an attack on the female menstrual cycle. He also crossed them again when he decided to pick a fight with Megyn a few weeks later.
What is the definition of tough when responding to those people who like to create controversy in order to get attention? Sometimes it’s not to give them attention at all. Sometimes tough isn’t showing anger, or vindictiveness. Sometimes it’s deflating obvious bullies, and attention seekers with extremely smart comments. At other times you just have to respond. This isn’t the only time Megyn has shown class in responding to outrageous comments, as you will see further down. Megyn’s answer to Trump from her Kelly File segment on Fox News a few weeks back about the “blood comments” is a classic. Here is her response:
“We’ll get to Missouri in a moment, but first: I just got back from a weekend at the beach with my husband and my three kids. Did anything happen in the news when I was gone? Did I miss anything?” the host joked. “You may have heard that there was a dust up between yours truly and presidential contender Donald Trump. Mr. Trump was upset with a question I asked him at the debate last week about his electability and specifically comments he had made in the past about women. A few words on that: Apparently Mr. Trump thought the question I asked was unfair and felt I was attacking him. I felt he was asked a tough but fair question. We agreed to disagree. Mr. Trump gave interviews over the weekend that attacked me personally. I have decided not to respond.”
“Mr. Trump is an interesting man who has captured the attention of the electorate. That’s why he’s leading in the polls. Trump, who is now the front runner, will not apologize. And I certainly will not apologize for doing good journalism,” Kelly continued. “So, I’ll continue doing my job—without fear or favor. And Mr. Trump, I expect, will continue with what has been a successful campaign thus far.” “This is a tough business,” she said, “and it’s time now to move forward.” That is class, and it should have ended the fight right there.
This article will try to honor journalists, not just from the U.S.A, but from around the world who just know how to handle tough situations. No matter what side of the political fence you sit on, you should have no trouble appreciating these journalists. Of course it’s a bonus that they’re all pleasing on the eyes as well. Please note, we will not cover those journalists who in search of the truth paid for it with their life. These heroes need another 10 articles just for them. This single article could not do them justice.
10. Journalist With No-Name From Saudi Arabia
The snap shot shown above is from a live report for Saudi Arabia’s Ekhbariya channel. It’s good to see that Saudi Arabia has progressed enough to allow female journalists and even female government officials. But notice something missing? Her head covering. Now that’s not a big deal in the west, but this is Saudi Arabia. It’s amazing that the crew actually allowed this to happen as well. This caused such a stir in Saudi Arabia in 2014, that the spokesman for the station had to publicly apologize. What makes her tough? Imagine doing this, and full well knowing what will happen to you. She could have lost her career and a few other things, to say the least. It’s hard to find a news report indicating what happened to her after this incident, so we can’t confirm if she is still working.
9. Amberin Zaman – Journalist For The Economist in Turkey
If you think Donald Trump would make a bad President, check out what Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said about this journalist in 2014: “A militant in the guise of a journalist, a shameless woman. … Know your place!”. And he still got elected in a country seen by many as a shining example of secularism and left leaning values.
Zaman responded to Erdogan through her column in the Taraf newspaper, saying “You are lynching a Muslim woman who described what you are doing. Because women are sitting targets, aren’t they?” Freedom House, a New York-based media watchdog, recently downgraded the country from “partially free” to “not free.” Amberin has been the Economist’s correspondent in Turkey for 16 years and she still continues to work in an environment that is becoming increasingly more intolerant to independent journalism as a whole, let alone women in general.
8. Arianna Huffington – Founder of Huffington Post
For the next few people on the list, we will honor career achievement over a single event. Arianna was born in Athens, Greece, in 1950 as Arianna Stassinopoulos. She has a degree in Economics from the University of Cambridge, where she became president of its famed debate organization. In the UK she made her living as an author before moving to the United States in 1980. In 1986 she married conservative politician Micheal Huffington. She ran against Arnold Schwarzenegger for Governor of California in 2003, before withdrawing. In 2005 she launched the Huffington-Post which a few years later became the most powerful blog in the world. In 2011 she sold her site for $300 million to AOL. It does take mettle and toughness to create one of the most popular online papers ever. Originally pegged as a conservative journalist, she has been recently pegged as leaning towards the left, which begs the question? Why are journalists pegged as either right or left? Does it ruin their credentials one way or another? What’s wrong with being neutral and reporting on causes on either side of the fence? That’s a debate for another time, though.
7. Diane Sawyer
Is there any name in journalism as highly regarded in North America as Diane Sawyer (regardless of gender)? Made famous in 1984 as the first female news anchor on 60 Minutes, her most recent news worthy event to garner attention was her exclusive interview with the former Olympic Gold Medalist, Bruce Jenner. In her lifetime she has been the first at the scene for her respective broadcasting station for so many crucial events. She’s interviewed virtually every world leader, including intimidating people like Syrian president Assad. Now that takes toughness. Not bad for someone who once was President Nixon’s press secretary, being forced into exile for a few years after Watergate. She has still retained her good looks even though she’s approaching her 70s.
6. Eva Khaili – Member of the European Parliament/Former Reporter for Mega Channel, Greece
She is the youngest ever elected member of parliament in Greece. She is so respected that she is one of the few continually re-elected representatives of a practically dead political party partially blamed for the economic crisis in Greece. It takes toughness to survive in the current political climate in Greece, and even more toughness to represent Greece in a hostile European Parliament, especially at that young of an age. All of this after anchoring a major Greek language news program for a few years. And she is damn hot as well! Can you ask for anything more?
5. Lebohang Pheko – Political Analyst, South Africa
She became an instant hit in South Africa when the comment “(Don’t) touch me on my studio” was first spoken, during her 2010 interview with André Visagie, former Secretary General of the far right group, the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB). Pheko confronted Visagie about abuse of farm workers in South Africa. Pheko did not allow Visagie to respond, prompting show anchor Chris Maroleng, to intervene when Visagie erupted with anger. Maroleng’s repeated statement to Visagie, “(Don’t) touch me on my studio, (don’t) touch me on my studio ” and the AWB member’s adamant response, “I’ll touch you on your studio”, became a focus of jokes on Twitter and video remixes on YouTube. All this came about because Pheko tried to prove a point.
4. Ghida Fakhry – Al Jazeera (Lebanon)
Ghida is a prominent anchor for middle eastern news organization, Al Jazeera. She was born in Beirut and is fluent in four languages (English, Arabic, French and Spanish). She is currently based in Al Jazeera’s base in Doha, Qatar, but did also work in the U.S for several years. She has interviewed many prominent figures including Muammar Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president and Manuel Zelaya, the president of Honduras. She has had her share of interviewing extremists as well, which goes to show the toughness and respect she must have to have these people come to her for interviews. Man is she ever pleasant to watch as well.
3. Melissa Fung – CBC News, Canada/China
So far we have covered journalists who sit behind a desk, and who perform most of their work away from imminent danger. What happens when you work as a field reporter in the most dangerous war zone in the world, get abducted and live to tell about it? That’s the story of Melissa Fung. She was born in Hong Kong, and moved to Canada at the Age of 4. Her most harrowing experience came when she reported out of the Canadian Military base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2008. On October 12, 2008, en route to a refugee camp near the capital of Kabul, she was abducted, not by the Taliban but by some other group known as Hizb-e Islami. She was blindfolded and chained to the inside of a tiny cave for 28 days. Four days after being released, she was strong enough to be interviewed. A year later she wrote a book about her experience. She later returned to Afghanistan in 2013, without the approval of her employer who she left in order to work as a freelance journalist. She is now stationed in Washington D.C. In recent interviews she has had positive things to say about the progress in Afghanistan, despite her ordeals.
2. Lara Logan – Foreign Correspondent CBS News, United States
Lara Logan covered the Arab Spring in Cairo, just as it happened in 2011. Although a momentous occasion for many, it was a harrowing experience for her. According to her, at some moment things went wrong. Some men in the crowd started screaming that they wanted to take off her pants. She was subsequently separated from her crew, undressed by a mob of men and sexually assaulted with their hands. She only escaped she said, after an Egyptian woman saved her. She’s been working in Cairo and other such places for four years after the assault, showing a level of toughness many people do not have.
1. Amanda Lindhout – Former Freelance Journalist, Canada
Amanda, a freelance journalist, is number one on this list not only for the ordeal she endured, but for how she responded to it. In 2007 (at the age of 24) she and her photographer, Australian Nigel Brennan, were taken hostage after terrorists stalked their hotel. Lindhout was a “veteran” of war zones, as she had been previously abducted in Iraq. For 15 months she was held hostage during which time she was repeatedly sexually assaulted, beaten and starved as her captors played Russian roulette with an assault rifle. The pair even managed to escape only to muster more punishment once they were recaptured. The captors asked for millions for them. The pair’s families mustered thousands of dollars which luckily was enough to secure their release. Two years after her release in 2010, Google Ideas had Amanda moderate a panel of violent extremists, some of whom were from Somalia. That same year Lindhout founded the Global Enrichment Foundation to create more opportunities in Somalia by offering University scholarships to women. Her foundation successfully provides 100 women a year with a University education.
She re-visited Somalia in 2011 to continue her work. When asked why she established the Foundation despite her kidnapping, Lindhout told the The National (a news program in Canada) “You can very easily go into anger and bitterness and revenge thoughts and resentment and ‘Why me?'[…] Because I had something very, very large and very painful to forgive, and by choosing to do that, I was able to put into place my vision, which was making Somalia a better place[…] I’ve never questioned whether or not it was the right thing to do[…] What else to do after the experience that I had, than something like this?” How many people on Earth would have the toughness and courage to respond to such a horrible situation in this manner? That is why she is number one on the list.