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Think Tank visits with former Valley TV news anchor Mary Jo West

(Photo/Mary Jo West)

Mary Jo West was the first woman to anchor a primetime news broadcast in Phoenix. She anchored the news at Channel 10 (then KOOL-TV) from 1976 to 1982, and KTVK Channel 3 from 1983 to 1986.

In between she did a stint anchoring a network CBS overnight show.

Then she left commercial television news and largely dropped from public view.

From the outside it looked glamorous. From the inside, it wasn’t as seamless as it appeared.

Her co-anchor, Bill Close, was much older and a fixture in Phoenix broadcasting. And he, by all accounts, did not much appreciate sharing the anchor desk with a woman, especially a 20-something woman.

Additionally, there was an extraordinary speech given in Congress last week.

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Occasio-Cortez was rudely insulted by Rep. Ted Yoho on the steps of the Capitol. You have probably heard about the incident and perhaps heard a short excerpt of this speech.

But the full 10 minute speech is for the ages.

Firstly, and certainly for the content of the speech. But also, as someone who has studied persuasion, this is one of the most powerful and artful rhetorical takedowns I have ever heard.

She addresses not only the sexism underlying his remarks, but also takes apart his non-apology apology. This speech will be studied in rhetoric classes for many years.

Regardless of your political persuasion, it is worth hearing for that reason alone. We play the speech in its entirety and then listen to Mary Jo’s reaction to it.

Television news, sexism, career and life choices, all in this week’s Think Tank.

The Think Tank airs on KTAR 92.3 FM on Saturday 3-4 p.m. and Sunday 9-10 p.m.

Podcasts are available after broadcast.

The Think Tank

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