The last thing Katie Couric needs right now is a reminder of her lightweight status as a fledgling newsanchor. About to launch her new career on Tuesday, the former Today Show co-host was recently blindsided by a surprisingly stupid CBS publicity gaffe.
According to Broadcasting & Cable Magazine (originally reported by Web site TVnewser.com), CBS doctored photos of Katie in a recent edition of its self-published magazine called "Watch." In the photos, Katie’s neck and waistline are noticeably thinner than the real McCoys. CBS spokesmen admitted to the falsification, but offered no explanation for their actions.
Did they think a slimmer Couric would project more gravitas? Would a sleeker Katie make CBS News viewers think they were watching a mean, lean journalism machine? If that’s the case, why not dump Katie in favor of Calista Flockhart?
Poor Katie. So many people think she’s simply not up to the duties of being a serious journalist. And, aside from a much-heralded listening tour of the "heartland" in which she excluded journalists from attending, she hasn’t done much to help her cause. First, Couric said she wouldn’t travel to Iraq to cover the war because she owed it to her kids to stay safe. Now, there’s her dramatic "weight loss." One wonders if Edward M. Murrow, Walter Cronkite or even the nutty Dan Rather would have refused to cover a war from the front lines or appeared in doctored photos.
To her credit, Ms. Couric apparently knew nothing about the pics, and issued a statement saying she prefers undoctored photos of her "….because there’s more of me to love."
That’s cool. But, how does Katie create the gravitas needed to connect with serious newswatchers? Many argue that, in today’s entertainment and ratings-driven society, Ms. Couric doesn’t need to project anything more than the bright, bubbly lightweight personna of her Today Show days. I disagree. I think Americans will tune Katie out after the initial ratings spike subsides.
In these brutally dangerous and uncertain times, I think Americans wil turn to someone who imparts caring, concern and credibility. Perkiness is great when one is covering the latest child-rearing techniques, Fall fashions or dating tips. But, it simply won’t translate to the death, despair and destruction that seems to greet us each new day in each new newscast.