I’ve spent many hours listening to Cokie Roberts on NPR and watching her on TV. I can’t remember anything memorable she ever said or did. What exactly makes her legendary? One hundred thousand American journalists could have performed her job at least as well. I’m told she was a pioneering woman, so does that mean we should grade her on the curve?
A friend says: “The reason Cokie Roberts is so highly thought of is because she put NPR news on the map. When I first started listening to NPR (when it was on KUSC) the had their two shows: Susan Stamberg held down the evening slot and Bob Edwards the morning one. This was pre cable news and NPR couldn’t compete with the big networks for national talent. NPR instead hired Cokie Roberts and others. Because of Roberts’ background she was able to get her fair share of scoops as a congressional beat reporter.Her father Hale Boggs before he was killed in a plane crash had been the House Majority Leader and her mother succeeded him in his seat. Her brother Tommy Boggs is and has been one of Washington’s top lobbyists and her then husband (I don’t know if they are still married) Steve Roberts was also a respected political reporter. There is no doubt that NPR’s national news became a go to news source for many because they had hired Cokie Roberts. Later she also worked for ABC. But she benefited from being a woman, when at the time she began reporting most reporters were men, and from her connections.”