Katie Couric is anything but weighty

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 theCouricphoto_1   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.

29 thoughts on “Katie Couric is anything but weighty

  1. So Katie should have to prove herself out in the field? Kind of like Charles Gibson? When that fluff guy took on the ABC evenings news no one blinked an eye, nor asked him if he was willing to walk the front lines.
    Total double standard here. Let’s see what happens tonight, I am sure America will be on pins and needles waiting to see not what Katie has to say, but what she is wearing.

  2. sure it does jimmy. clients dont hire you folks to get them on entertainment shows. if they did, they when arent you pitching ET, Jerry Springer and Maury. You can’t have it both ways..either its news or its not. and if its not, is that explained to a client- “good news- we got you on the today show, bad news- its pure entertainment.”
    oh and by the way, here is what NBC has to say about the today show: NBC News pioneered the morning news program when it launched “Today” 50 years ago.
    rep- why dont you debate someone from nbc on what genre the today show falls under…

  3. Obviously I am not the site’s proprietor, but I don’t think it needs to be. The show counts as publicity, a major hit even, and no one is debating that point. It catches eyeballs and helps build or maintain buzz.
    So, getting the latest whiz-bang product from say a Panasonic or Sony on Entertainment Tonight is still a hit, but I wouldn’t consider it hard news.
    Does that really need to be explained to anyone reading this post (besides MSE)?

  4. “the today show is pure entertainment.” lets consider that statement for a minute. isn’t the today show the holy grail that peppercom tried to get all its clients on, sent out AE’s and interns at 4 am to “crash” the show and then told the clients how great it was. so let me get this straight..that was all done for an “entertainment” show.”
    This is a good point, and one that should be defended by the blog’s proprietor.

  5. Excellent points, MamaVision, but I still think Katie should have to “walk the walk,” cover frontline news and earn her journalist’s stripes.

  6. …not the idea of killing him, of course.
    I’m interested testing the boundries of free speech, the technology involved to make such a film, and overall topic of the film.
    I’m a pacifist, fyi.

  7. They likely removed the wrinkles from her face along with the few extra pounds. Women will never escape the media’s need to project them as perfect objects. People will tune in if she looks better. That’s a fact that we have to learn to live with.
    Regarding Katie’s comment on why she won’t go to Iraq, you need to be a mom to understand it, so let this one slide. Her responsibility is first to her children, not to her job and she should be commented for this, not ridiculed.
    Katie has forever been called “perky.” She played that side of her personality well on the Today show, so let’s see how she plays her other site on the CBS Evening news. Compassion comes through very clearly, its something you can’t hide, even if you want to. If Katie genuinely mixes her sincerity with news savvy, she is going to blow the male anchors out of the water.

  8. I do not consider The Today Show hard news. The show is produced for moms (& some dads) who stay at home and do nothing all morning. But I will say she has boatloads of TV experience and can carry a conversation. Your rationale says to me that you think Bob Barker would do well, too. Hey, maybe someone should hire him? All those Boomers who are about to get shoved out of the office will surely relate to him, right? Anyway, I really could care less.
    RepMan, did you see the articles floating around about the mockumentary that has W. getting killed? It’s airing in the UK for starters…not sure if it right for your site, but still find the idea and topic fascinating.

  9. good point jimmy. again, do you think katie is a fledgling newsanchor? to say that the today show doesn’t qualify as experience is absurd!

  10. Just give it a rest, I-man. Man, if you were to put in as much of your time in the medical supplies sales as you do into these posts you would have made 4x that $200,000 you missed from your financial projections.
    To Rep’s point, you should take another loss of about $6.95 and buy a dictionary.

  11. “the today show is pure entertainment.” lets consider that statement for a minute. isn’t the today show the holy grail that peppercom tried to get all its clients on, sent out AE’s and interns at 4 am to “crash” the show and then told the clients how great it was. so let me get this straight..that was all done for an “entertainment” show. wonder why you guys don’t pitch ET, the WWE, Maury Povich, Jerry Springer, Judge Judy etc and crash those “entertainment” shows as well.
    now do you want to reconsider that last statment? oh, and i wonder how the producers and folks over at NBC will react the next time you guys pitch them for a segment after they were labeled “pure entertainment”

  12. Can anyone suggest a good anger management program for the med supplies guy? I-man: since Katie has yet to begin her CBS newsachor gig, what else would you call her but “fledgling?” She has no news anchoring experience. The Today Show is pure entertainment, I-man, not news. There is a difference.

  13. ok jimmy- fair point. so why don’t you address the point i made: repman calling katie a fledging newsanchor. do you agree with that statement?

  14. getting back to my original point, where in the world do you come off as saying “lightweight status as a fledgling newsanchor.” again, what you always do avoid the question or point? b/c u have to- u can’t possibly answer the question! the only type of person that would say that is one who is jealous. the same type of person that bashes the bigger names in their field, the same type who knocks folks in the same discipline getting the big budgets, and the same person who cant take the fact the danica patrick is making money posing in a calendar.
    it’s pure jealousy and nothing else. actually, it’s pre jealousy cloaked behind the veil of “reputation management.”

  15. MSE,
    What’s your beef? Reading your posts, I almost wonder if you started drinking…and I know that isn’t the case.
    When you have a point to make, go ahead and try. All of this assuming and ranting is way lame.

  16. rep- you are right, i do spend way to much time on the repmanblog. that could explain why we will only do 2.3 million in sales this year as opposed to the 2.5 projected. then again, not bad for a company just 2 years in existence.
    nyc- u got that quote pretty dead on! tell u what, u are invited to my country club anytime for a round of golf. and if you are in pr and thus can’t afford the gas to get here, i will send a car for you..

  17. I’ve seen a lot of banter resulting from good blogs, and this is not one of them. To perceive this, or any another perception regarding the reputation of corporate America, PR firms, airlines, etc. as “jealousy” is beyond comprehension. Does this theory stretch as far as to strike jealousy toward the convent and the Vatican, too?
    As the old saying goes, “those who can, do and those who cannot – – sell medical supplies.”

  18. Med supply exec: If you had actually followed through on your threat to launch your own blog, maybe I’d take these “rants” of yours more seriously. I think you need to sit back, tie up your left arm with one of your surgical supply rubber tubes and inject the most intense liquid you have lying around your evil laboratory. (BTW: you remind me of the Gene Wilder character in “Young Frankenstein.”) You are spending way, way, way too much time analyzing the Repman blogs and not enough time selling medical equipment.

  19. so i finally figured it all out and have a new positioning this blog should “own.” it should be change it’s name to the “jealous-man-blog” b/c that describes many of the “opinions” stated here. today’s blog starts out “The last thing Katie Couric needs right now is a reminder of her lightweight status as a fledgling newsanchor.”
    i’m sorry- i didn’t see the ratings on her first newscast yet. oh, myabe that’s b/c she hasn’t done one yet! but i do remember the ratings for the today show, and they weren’t too shabby. so how exactly do you proclaim that she is a “fledgling newsanchor.” i’ll tell you how- b/c you are jealous! the same way you are jealous of the budgets that ad agencies get and are jealous of the bigger pr firms, and are jealous when stars make money (danica patrick).
    all of these rants, er i mean blogs, have one common thread, and that is the fact that you are jealous when people make a ton of money, or get a huge budget. that explains why you belittle advertising, big pr firms, and even medical supplies.
    to take this one step further, let’s think about the “positive” blogs that come to mind. there was the one about the fruit dude who smiled, there were the ones about the small pr firms driving innovaton, and i guess there were more, but i just can’t remember. sure, you hyped the fruit guy b/c i don’t think you are jealous of him. and sure, you can hyoe the little pr firms, b/c peppercom is better than they are. but when it comes to folks who are bigger, stronger, make more money- that it when the gloves come off and we take the cheap shots.
    i don’t know what you have against katie, but u did a rep chatter blastng her and then you have this blog. all this woman has done is get most of america to like her and turned that into a large sack of money and one of the most prominent jobs in media-all the more reason you would be jealous of her. i guess it all makes sense now…

  20. Personally, I always felt she was a little biased in her reporting on the Today Show – I mean we all come with biases but she was particularly bad – or maybe it just happened to be with my clients 🙁

  21. Everyone’s original photos look less flattering next to the Photoshoped versions (I’ve seen some scary “before” pics of myself). Of course, the Peppercom photos were lovely to begin with–although, I probably have some blackmail fodder if I ever need it;-).
    I have to say that I also disagree that Katie’s refusal to cover a war on the front-lines is indicative of her talent as an evening news anchor. I don’t believe Murrow, Cronkite or Rather were single parents. Katie’s children have already lost a father–she has to put their needs ahead of all else. That shouldn’t reflect on her ability to take this high-profile job.

  22. Totally understand where you’re coming from, Dandy. But, how can you call her a top-notch news anchor when she refuses to go and do what all the other top news anchors have done? I think it’s a classic double standard.

  23. Stacy, I prefaced my description of Dan Rather by using the adjective “nutty.” I don’t doubt he’s had a few touch-ups in his day. But, he never shirked the front lines and often put himself in harm’s way to really cover a story, beginning with the Vietnam War. Katie wants the anchor-seat perks without paying the dues. As for P’com photo touch-ups, are you suggesting my pic is touched up? Ouch. What did the original look like?

  24. While I give any mother props (especially my own) for raising kids, let’s not label her a saint (or nun) just yet. I mean with the cheddar she is earning and the lifestyle she lives, motherhood isn’t all that hard for her. Wouldn’t you agree? And, with the time demands from her career, I wonder just how much mothering she really does.
    Anyway, we weren’t concerned about her neck size, Rob. CBS (and/or Couric) was concerned. It’s silly really…would that photo have been the image of Katie that America burns into its minds? No, we will think about her looks if/when we tune in. I won’t be…

  25. Points taken, Rob. But, Murrow, Cronkite and Rather wouldn’t shun the front lines of battle, either. Seems to me that covering the war, on-site and first-hand, should be expected of any serious journalist. Time will tell how Katie will be judged.

  26. I do agree with you that this photo blunder does not help Katie’s cause. But, I have to take issue with your suggestion that a newscaster like Dan Rather–a “serious” news personality–would not fall prey to such antics. Mr. Rather has, without a doubt, undergone multiple procedures to keep his youthful look, and every news anchor wears make-up to appear more appealing on camera. And, as someone who is quite familiar with photography, I can guarantee that every single headshot and image that comes out of any network has been Photoshoped. Most corporate headshots are also re-touched. In fact, I know that some headshots from Peppercom were re-touched to look smoother and more even-toned, and to diminish some of the “flaws” we all have.
    My point being that you cannot use this latest Photoshop “blunder” as a basis to judge whether or not Katie will succeed. The only “blunder” here is that the original photos were leaked for a side-by-side comparison. I can’t, however, comment on her listening tour because I haven’t followed it—perhaps you have a point there. But, to suggest that CBS dump Katie in favor of Calista Flockhart (even if it’s in jest) is like saying they should’ve dumped Dan Rather for Orlando Bloom. Trust me, if the media had gotten a hold of raw photos of him, or any newscaster–even 20 years ago–there would have been a similar firestorm of stories…or would there have been? Maybe the bigger reputation issue to examine is that of the media’s (you know, the “unbiased, fair and balanced” press).

  27. I think we need to give Katie a chance. We have only seen her on the Today show, and she did a great job in that market. She has done some in depth and serious interviews, and performed quite well. She is the first woman to take on the Nightly News role, and has some big shoes to fill. She also has a role as a mother, something Walter and Dan never had to do. I think being a mother goes hand in hand with the image of being a working, well rounded woman today. She is trying to create a good balance for her and for the eyes and ears of America. Maybe if we give her a chance and let her do her job, we won’t be as concerned about her neck size.