Katie Couric tarts it up for Dan Rather


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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