Via the HuffPost I came upon this little opinion piece in the NYT on the widely rumored defection of Katie Couric to the CBS evening news anchor position. Now, I’m not a huge Couric fan – I find her insipid and frankly a really lame interviewer, no matter what the topic – but she doesn’t offend me anywhere near as much as the specious “reasoning” in this article. A few prime examples:
“Ms. Couric has understandably attracted a lot of attention, because the evening anchors who have sat in those chairs and held our hands through wars, terror attacks and natural cataclysms have almost always been men. Part of it is practical — networks need a Zeus to maintain order in the pantheon — and much of it is testosterone. If this a war, then everyone likes having a general around. Or at least, someone who looks like one.”
Um … right. It’s purely “practical” that most evening news anchors have been men. Practical in the sense that the evening news is like … Mount Olympus (wtf?!) … and, er, we all know that Zeus ruled the roost up there, so … um … ergo, male anchors. Yeah. Good one.
“The route to the anchor chair generally travels through a series of foreign and political assignments, weekend tryouts and then, finally, when someone dies or falters, a shot at the bigs. Ms. Couric has usually been the one to get the interview with the president’s wife, not the president, and the only war zone she has reported from is the long-running one among the morning shows.”
OK, first of all, I don’t think this statement is even factually true – Couric has interviewed plenty of big-time heads of state, just as Matt Lauer has interviewed his share of soccer moms. But even if it WERE true, how is that any indication of her abilities? I’m not saying that experience doesn’t count at all in this situation, but surely Couric has picked up the requisite interviewing skills in her tenure at The Today Show.
“Will the head-and-shoulders shot suit Ms. Couric? The two jobs are remarkably different, with the morning job seeming to be the much more difficult one. The evening anchor is generally on for little more than five minutes, doing hand-offs and interviewing experienced network hands. The news is the star.
In the morning, Ms. Couric is on for three hours at a stretch, pivoting between dead Marines and cute dolphins at marine parks. Her husky giggle, which has been music to audiences for almost 15 years, would not get much of a workout at night, and her legs, admired everywhere, would disappear under the anchor desk.”
Oh, give me a fucking break already. So IS it a tough job or ISN’T it? If she’s just on “for 5 minutes” then what’s the problem with not having worked exclusively in political reporting up to this point? And Jesus, can you imagine a legit writer EVER talking about Brian Williams’ “husky giggle” or lamenting that his 6-pack abs have disappeared behind the anchor desk? I think not. The final paragraph really sums it all up:
“Sure, nothing gets competitive juices flowing at the networks like an anchor war. But the fact that networks seem willing to concede that the best man for the job is clearly a woman means that it just isn’t the same job anymore.”
Well, there you have it. If the “best man for the job” is a woman, then clearly the whole industry has gone to shit. Because it’s not like a woman could ACTUALLY be the best – perish the thought!
Grrr. I hate being forced into defending Katie Couric. But this crapola should have been tossed into the shredder before it ever saw the printer.