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What Has Journalist Connie Chung Been Doing Since 60 Minutes?

Emmy Award-winning journalist Connie Chung has had a long career reporting the news. She exclusively interviewed President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal (via Chinese American Museum) and conducted the first interview with U.S. Representative Gary Condit following intern Chandra Levy's disappearance in 2001. She also scored golden interview opportunities with Bill GatesMagic Johnson, and Tonya Harding at pivotal points in each of their careers.

Chung's journalistic prowess and ability to bag major interviews led her to become one of the most well-known American reporters of the 1990s (via University of Kansas). In addition to being a correspondent for "60 Minutes," Chung hosted "Face to Face with Connie Chung" (formerly "Saturday Night with Connie Chung") on CBS, the first time her name was in the title of a news program. Her rise through broadcasting continued in May 1993, when she was selected to co-anchor "CBS Evening News" with Dan Rather (via The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History).

Chung made headlines herself as the first news anchor of Asian descent on a major network and only the second female co-anchor of an evening news program; the first, of course, was the late Barbara Walters. Chung was a trailblazer in her own right, opening opportunities for other Asian Americans and women to succeed in journalism. But since leaving "CBS Evening News" and her own show, "Eye to Eye with Connie Chung," in 1995, whatever happened to the doyenne of nightly news?

Chung's career became mired in controversy

By 1995, Connie Chung had come to be associated with a softer, tabloid-style approach to reporting (via Los Angeles Times). Some of that reputation was not Chung's own doing, with the anchor wanting to cover hard news but being repeatedly forced onto softer pieces by the network. "I really do regret doing so many tabloid stories under duress," Chung told "The Originals" host Andrew Goldman in 2020. Not only was there a tremendous disparity in the kinds of stories Chung and co-anchor Dan Rather covered, but the two also didn't have much on-air chemistry. The show failed to attract the ratings that CBS expected, but this poor performance wasn't the only reason Chung was booted from the network.

In January 1995, Chung interviewed Newt Gingrich's mother, Kathleen, for "Eye to Eye with Connie Chung." The host invited her to whisper a private comment Newt had made about Hillary Clinton, claiming that the comment would only be heard by the two of them. Kathleen obliged, saying, "She's a b****," and the comment was not edited out. The decision to air her comment immediately caused a furor, though Chung defended herself and the network (via The Washington Post). Whether the controversy should have been directed toward Chung or Gingrich himself, it was deemed that Chung had at least sidestepped some journalistic ethics, which then began to erode her career.

Chung's coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing

Another controversial moment in Connie Chung's career came in April 1995. In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people and injured hundreds more (via History), "CBS Evening News" sent Chung to the scene from California rather than co-anchor Dan Rather, who was then in Texas (via Orlando Sentinel). Although Rather was on vacation, he had expressed his availability, and it would have been faster and less expensive to deploy him to Oklahoma as opposed to Chung.

While Chung was on the scene, she committed a number of perceived gaffes, including asking an Oklahoma City Fire Department assistant whether the department could "handle" the aftermath of the explosion, which some locals interpreted as a slight against their fire and rescue services (via The Oklahoman). But whether you interpret Chung's question as boilerplate journalism or an affront to the fire department, the rest of her reporting ended up raising eyebrows. On the day of the bombing, Chung said, "A U.S. government source has told CBS News that [the bombing] has Middle East terrorism written all over it" (via University of California Press). Two days later, the attack was discovered to have been perpetrated by two white men.

Following the controversies of Chung's deployment to Oklahoma City, she was removed from the CBS anchor chair (via The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History). She left CBS following her demotion and amid the prospect of "Eye to Eye with Connie Chung" being canceled (via SFGate).

She rebounded with ABC and CNN

Accusations of sexism were hurled at CBS in the wake of Connie Chung's dismissal (via Charlie Rose). Amid the discourse about sexism and journalistic ethics, Chung believes that her strong reporting record, including her interview with Chinese leader Li Peng and coverage of President Richard Nixon's funeral, was lost in the shuffle (via Los Angeles Times).

But Chung wasn't out of a job for long, securing a position with ABC in 1997 (via The New York Times). There, she reported for "20/20" and "Good Morning America." She moved networks again in 2002, hosting "Connie Chung Tonight" for CNN (via Los Angeles Times).

Her time with CNN was not without drama either. In 2002, Chung made xenophobic remarks toward Czech American tennis player Martina Navratilova in response to the queer icon's statements against President George W. Bush and in favor of civil liberties, telling her in an interview, "I thought it was un-American, unpatriotic. I wanted to say, go back to Czechoslovakia." She later scoffed when the star said she was considering running for public office, asking, "Are you kidding me?" "Connie Chung Tonight" was canceled in 2003 (via The Washington Post).

Chung and husband Maury Povich started a TV show, then a newspaper

Many might not know that Connie Chung is married to daytime talk show host Maury Povich. The couple wed in 1984 and adopted a son 11 years later (via CBS News). After Chung left CNN in 2003, she starred in an MSNBC show alongside Povich, "Weekends with Maury and Connie." The show ended after five months, but in its final episode, Chung delivered a literal swan song, sitting atop a grand piano and singing a parody of "Thanks for the Memory." To some, it was an endearing, funny tribute, but now, it mostly reads as a great bit of cringe television. It also unwittingly generated more viewership online than the show ever had during its run (via CBS News).

The duo of Povich and Chung wasn't done, though. They launched the Flathead Beacon in 2007, a weekly local paper in Flathead Valley, Montana, where they own a vacation home. The paper had grown to over 20 employees as of 2016, and Povich and Chung also folded a local quarterly magazine and a local marketing firm into the Beacon's operations (via Columbia Journalism Review).

Beyond her news work, Chung has appeared on "The Colbert Report" and "The View." She's dabbled in acting too — as herself, naturally — on shows such as "House of Cards," "Fresh Off the Boat," "Sarah Cooper: Everything's Fine," and "The Undoing."

She called out sexism in the industry

Since her days anchoring are mostly behind her, Connie Chung has been reflecting on her career. "When I went to the office, all I saw [was] a sea of white males," she told "The CBS Mornings Podcast" in 2020 about her first years on the job, an environment that conditioned her to think and act with the brazen confidence of her privileged colleagues. Since then, Chung has talked about the toxic work environment of primetime news and how she was uncomfortable working with Dan Rather. She also said that, though she was initially thrilled to work with Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer, she became disenchanted with her time at ABC and how the women were made to compete for stories (via The Originals).

In 2018, Chung published a letter in the Washington Post addressed to Christine Blasey Ford, describing how she herself had been a victim of sexual assault. The celebrated journalist congratulated Ford for having the bravery to come forward with her testimony against Brett Kavanaugh. Chung has also reflected on sexism in the industry on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," arguing that there's always been rampant sexism in the news business but added drolly that all the people who have sexually harassed her are now dead (via ET).

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).