Look what Katie Couric did

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Gosh darn it, little Katie Couric is all “growed” up. And she must be plum tired of hearing all the poopy malarkey those meanies have been writing and saying about her since she slid into Dan Rather’s well-worn pair of shoes at the CBS Evening News back in September 2006.

Frankly, I’m tired of it, too. It’s the evening news, for goodness sake; it’s not life or death. Oh, wait. OK, fine, maybe life and death are being reported, but still, does a person have to look exactly like, sound exactly like, smirk exactly like her predecessor to be considered credible?

She not only has big shoes to fill: She has to fill those big shoes with her petite feet and not seem “too nice” doing it. But she can’t be “too mean” either, because then the B word could be slapped like an unsuspecting note on her back, and the B word tag on a woman can
be the kiss of death in a male-dominated field and in the court of public opinion.

What’s a Katie to do?

No, Katie! Stop waving. Do not leave. Katie took a risk that I applaud, as a woman. (I know, I know, I am a woman, so I can’t applaud as anything else, but you get the gist.) Anyway, back on point, just over a year ago she announced her decision to leave the comfort of her domain, the entertaining Today show, for this new professional challenge. But change is tough on the human psyche, and that collective psyche includes those who were accustomed to Dan Rather. Nothing signals change more than “out with the old and in with the new,” and in June 2006, CBS tore down the old news set and ushered in a new era with Katie at the wheel. Unfortunately, some still see Katie as this
person:

— and Lord knows a perky little cheerleader should not be anchoring the “real news.” Even her predecessor has taken a pot shot at her. The most recent turn of events adding to this tumultuous 10 months of Katie-in-charge is her admission that maybe this wasn't the best career choice, and — worse yet — that she girl-slapped (OK, yes, I am grossly embellishing) some man for tripping her up via the print copy she was to read on air. Seems he made her look unprofessional because she mispronounced the word sputum. I think we should all mispronounce it in protest!

Having challenges to her credibility tossed like water balloons from
tall apartment buildings makes it really poor timing for Katie to use Valley Girl–speak — “I have days when I'm like, Oh my God, What did I do?” — in a New York magazine interview. Ugh. It should not take God to remind Katie that she made her on-air bread and butter on a daytime entertainment show and not in the Mekong Delta, and that there was a potential perception issue at play when she took the job as evening news anchor. Sigh. Was Katie not aware of the male-female double standard when it comes to certain jobs? Yes, those certain jobs. The ones that pay very well and do not involve washing and drying or cooking unless you own your own five-star restaurant. Those jobs? It’s not that women have to do it the same when they replace men: They must do it better and all the while have a real balance in their personalities.



(New York)

With this latest admission of second thoughts have come requests for her to resign. Her tenure at CBS is now being commonly referred to as the Katie Experiment. No doubt some experiments can go awry, but sometimes it’s just one chemical compound that throws off the experiment, and I’m not convinced that Katie is the one throwing off the chemistry of the CBS Evening News. New sets, new music, new format all play a part in the change.

If I were Katie, I’d start on my new road for respect by changing my first name to Ms. and forcing people to stop calling me Katie as though I were the girl next door rather than a journalist. Hang is Ms. Couric! And anyway, Dan Rather wasn’t all that popular in the beginning either.

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