"Remember, not everyone is good at everything"

You’re a talented writer, Spitzer told Parker, and you’ve won a Pulitzer Prize. For whatever reason, this TV thing just hasn’t clicked. Then, as he so often did on their program, he got in the last word.

“Remember,” Spitzer said. “Not everyone is good at everything.”

For Parker, it was merely the last in a string of discourtesies she experienced at CNN. From the show’s early weeks things had been taken away from her: stories she wanted to pursue, interviews with top newsmakers. Adding insult to injury, CNN had asked Parker—a winner of the H.L. Mencken Writing Award whose column appears in 400 newspapers—to lighten her hair color. By November, the network was refusing to pay for the salon work…

Critics wrote that Spitzer, with his fierce intellect and fiercer debating style, had a future on cable, but Parker never seemed to warm to the camera—a problem some insiders said could have been prevented with some basic support from CNN. “She was not skilled at reading the prompter — and I can teach anyone how to be a good prompter reader in under a week,” said one staffer who raved about dealing with Parker off-set. “I got the sense that nobody was interested in making her better,” this person said. And forget about chemistry. “They did not communicate at all, Eliot and Kathleen, off the set. It was a strange environment to walk into. It seemed somber, and unusually low-key for a dynamic, prime time TV show. The lack of relationship was quite obvious.”