Katie Couric tarts it up for Dan Rather

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Oh no. Katie’s in a quagmire
again. As I blogged back in July, Katie Couric

seems to be a lightning rod for criticism, especially when she’s discussing her anchoring
job on the CBS Evening News.

The latest topic of controversy is a video of Couric making fun of Dan Rather. Well, not Dan himself, but his obsession with his appearance and wardrobe during a live outdoor broadcast some years ago.

Why would Couric make fun of a
legend-in-his-own-mind like Dan Rather? Well, maybe it’s because Rather,
when asked during an interview to give his opinion of her performance, dismissively accused the network — and not-so-indirectly
the woman herself — of “dumbing it
down and tarting it up
.”
Instead of calling Rather a pompous airbag (which would have
easily rolled off my tongue — OK, something much worse would have), Couric took the slam in stride. For a while
there, media types were queuing up to criticize Couric, so Rather’s comment
had to take a number and stand in line.

Fast-forward a few months and
it turns out that Katie, in an off-the-air moment, did some needling
of her own. In the video, Couric jokes, "I’m going to be like
Dan Rather." She then adds, "Geez, don’t you think
he deserves a little payback?" She begins to laugh and says, "This
tart is ready to go!" Watching the video of Couric having fun with
her staff and crew will make little sense if you haven’t seen the
Rather video, so let’s start with that one:




Was that as silly to you as
it was to me?

Here’s Couric’s take:



Two things make this all very humorous to me. (1) Rather was extremely quick and more than happy to jump on
the bandwagon of offering his negative opinion of Couric’s journalistic
credibility. Smells like sour grapes.
(2) Rather is suing CBS, his old bosses, for allegedly making him the
scapegoat for incorrect information Rather reported as fact.
Simply put, the lawsuit is Rather’s attempt to polish up his bruised
ego and image because his own journalistic credibility has taken a hit.

So watching Mr. War-coverage-over-celebrity-coverage
spend 20 long, inane and ridiculous minutes discussing whether or not
he should wear a trench coat on air during an outside news feed in Seattle —
and if he chooses to wear the trench coat, should the collar be up or
down? — gave me a laugh and a hearty “Oh, brother” moment. It’s annoying to watch Rather care so much about his appearance, now that I know he later took swipes at Couric for not being a “real journalist.”

The chatter around the radio
talk shows is that Couric’s mocking video is in poor taste. There’s
a part of me that thinks, "Yeah, she shouldn’t have done it"
(although it was not for public consumption), but that part of me is
in a very heated debate with the part of me that says, "That’s
dang funny, Katie, and you couldn’t have made fun of a more deserving
guy under the circumstances!" Did she cross a line? Is this much
ado about nothing? Should she have kept the coat unbuttoned?

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