Thursday, September 7, 2006

"It's getting the right person - that's the challenge." ~ Bob Schieffer

As pretty much anyone up in dispatch can tell you - I am not a fan of Katie Couric. Occasionally we would have the TV on long enough to catch part of The Today Show and if Katie was on, chances were real good that I'd have something to say that wasn't exactly complimentary. I don't know - the woman just gets under my skin. Maybe it's the over-the-top perkiness, maybe it's the fact that her lips are drawn on, maybe it's the fact that she takes herself way too seriously - hard to say.

I shed no tears over Katie's departure from NBC to go head up the CBS Evening News (and, if you believe any of the scandal sheets, neither did Matt Lauer). However, I was none too optimistic that she was going to be able to take on the seriousness of a positon previously held by Walter Cronkite, that fatherly icon of television broadcast journalism. Dan Rather muddled his good-ole-boy way through for quite some time before sticking his good-ole-boy cowboy boots in his mouth one too many times and decided that retirement was in order. Upon his departure I guess CBS decided that it was time to make a major change. Perhaps they thought that putting perky Katie behind the desk would make the bad news that seems so much a staple of the evening news more palatable and easier to swallow - perhaps we wouldn't notice the War in Iraq or the entire debacle in the Middle East quite so much with a female anchor at the helm.

Earlier tonight I decided to tune in the CBS Evening News to see if perhaps I had been wrong about Ms. Couric = to see if she had become the hard-hitting journalist that she needs to be in order to carry her current spot at the desk, to see if she could live up to all the hype. Nope. Same old Katie with the same old painted-on lips but in a sterner wardrobe. And what was this? She wasn't sitting behind the news desk where all good anchors belong but she was sitting across from Dr. John LaPook, a CBS News medical correspondent, while she interviewed him ala Today Show style about the new cervical cancer vaccine! Wait a minute ... was it 6:45 p.m. or had I somehow stumbled into the twilight zone and it was really 7:45 a.m.?? For a moment there I expected her to hand it over to Willard Scott filling in for Al Roker for the weather ...

I don't think I'll be watching the CBS Evening News anymore, tonight's show was enough. I rather miss Bob Schieffer who had been filling in until CBS thought Katie had been groo
med enough for the spot; call me old-fashioned but I guess I like my bad news coming from a grandfatherly sort. I have nothing against female reporters - I very much liked Connie Chung when she used to do the weekend news for CBS and I really like Anne Curry who does the news over at NBC for The Today Show - where I'm sure Meredith Viera is going to do a terrific job filling Katie's shoes!

And that's the way it is - Thursday, September 7, 2006. Good night!

2 comments:

  1. I can't help but think that holding someone to a "fatherly" ideal does a disservice to women as a whole. Just because the icon of television journalism is a man doesn't mean that masculinity should be the holy grail all broadcasters must search for and find if they want to be considered serious practitioners of their craft. Tabloid columnist Andrea Peyser went so far as to say that Katie looked like a "ridiculous tramp" on her first night as anchor at the Evening News. To me, that kind of rhetoric is offensive on so many levels. I understand that Katie Couric has her critics, and I can understand where you are coming from. But I think the arguments must be put in a professional context that analyzes her background and skills in a way that is not almost totally reliant on critiques of her ebullience, cosmetic surgery and, as Andrea Peyser mentions, the way Katie crosses her legs.

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  2. To some extent here, I do agree with you but as I said, there are female journalists out there that I do like who are ebullient but not to an over-the-top level like Ms. Couric is. I wouldn't say that she was "a ridiculous tramp" but I just don't think that serious journalism is her style. Perhaps she is fated to be thought of as a "morning talk show host" because she did that for so long just like some actors and actresses are forever cast in the same roles no matter how much they try to break out of them.

    My feelings towards Ms. Couric have nothing to do with her being female except for the way that she exploits it. I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt with her new career or I wouldn't have even bothered tuning in however I just didn't see it.

    And if I prefer my news coming from a more grandfatherly type that's probably partly due to the fact that I grew up during a time when ALL of the major news anchors were men - Huntley and Brinkley, Cronkite, Harry Reasoner and Howard K. Smith, etc. etc. That's not to say that there isn't a woman out there who could do the job and do it well - I just don't think it's Katie Couric and part of that is her politics. Newscasters are supposed to be unbiased and report the news from that angle - she doesn't and neither did Dan Rather. To me, that's a major black mark against both of them. I don't want their opinion of the news, I just want the news.

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