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Former Lady Abuser David Carr Presents Katie Couric an Olive Branch
Held between his teeth

Indeed, the tide is turning for Katie Couric. The former Today personality who two years ago tried making it as an evening news anchor has struggled for ratings and, in this industry, respect. She got neither. But the presidential election may save this woman. Last week we noted how the Keith Olbermann controversy had overtaken all the drumbeating about Couric's terrible audience numbers and her inevitable split with CBS' Les Moonves. And today, David Carr — who is not a member of the Times new media desk — repeats our thesis.

A remarkably revealing conversation ensued with Mr. Dukakis concluding, ???Look, I owe the American people an apology. If I had beaten the old man, you would never have heard of the kid and then we wouldn???t be in this mess.???

That conversation won???t change the political landscape, but it demonstrated what has been apparent for the last two decades to anybody with a television: Ms. Couric is a highly skilled interviewer, and people tend to tell her stuff.

[...]

???What sometimes gets lost in all the noise is that she is a superb journalist,??? [Rick Kaplan, executive producer of ???CBS Evening News"] said. ???She will outwork you and outinterview you and that is going to show up handsomely for her. We are in the second act of a three-act movie.???

Of course, this is coming from Mr. Carr, who reflects:

The last time I wrote about Ms. Couric, I got in a bit of a jam for suggesting that if the best man for the anchor job was a woman, it wasn???t the same job anymore. The implied sexism of the statement was lost on me, but not on readers and Ms. Couric herself.

So let me amend it here: Ms. Couric may never bring to mind Uncle Walt, but at a time when mainstream media is adopting the tools of the insurgency, the Olympian remove of network news is no longer an option. And as long as the job of anchoring network news keeps changing, no one, including me, should make a lot of assumptions about what kind of person should be sitting in that chair.

As such:

During our chat, I made a side bet with Ms. Couric that I could get through this column without using the p-word (you know, the one that rhymes with ???jerky???), and I plan on collecting.

Couric, of course, should be collecting interest on what all of Carr's doubting has done to her reputation and career, but hey, so long as he doesn't call her "perky," they're even.

[NYT]

Sep 15, 2008 · posted by david · Link · Respond
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