Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Katie Klunk

Matt Drudge has been helpfully posting the ratings for the CBS Evening news since Katie Couric took over the anchor chair last week. They show that after her first night on the air, her ratings have dropped steadily and she is now in third place behind NBC’s Brian Williams and ABC’s Charlie Gibson.

No one should be surprised. The network evening newscast is a dying format and it is unlikely that Couric will save it. Longtime Washington insider Sally Quinn gamely attempts to spin Couric’s mediocre debut, in a piece full of post-feminist self-pity about how Couric is being held to a different standard because she’s a woman.

Brian Williams and Charlie Gibson, recent successors to the anchor chairs on NBC and ABC, didn't have anywhere near the same buildup or scrutiny. Nobody mentioned their clothes or hair, and nobody made anything of the fact that Gibson had been on a morning show, but Couric was criticized for not coming from prime-time news. Nobody mentioned the word gravitas. (Couric was accused of not having it.) Nobody made a fuss about Williams and Gibson's salaries, but much was made of Couric's $15 million.

(An aside: I for one would be interested in devoting more than a mere mention to Williams’ hair and clothes, but I can’t get past his assistant.)

Quinn's argument is more than a little reminiscent of Belinda Stronach’s whining about how she gets judged on her hair and clothes while others do not. (I sure hope she told off Anne McLellan for her observation about Stronach’s “great shoes” when Stronach crossed the floor.)

Stronach neglected to add that that commentary about her appearance is (at least) 99% positive, unlike for female politicians who have the misfortune of being less attractive and lacking the budget for Chanel jackets such as the one Stronach was wearing at an Ontario PC fundraising dinner a few years ago. Belinda must be the only person in the world who thinks her appearance had nothing to do with where she is in life. She is, as the saying goes, someone who was born on third base and thinks she hit a triple.

Which is to say that Couric’s X chromosomes and mother status were among the main reasons she got the job over many better-qualified men who have been reporting real news and conducting interviews of longer than 3 minutes. So we gotta take the bad with the good, girls. In any event, Quinn’s apologia is two weeks too late: you can’t manage expectations after the fact.


John M Reynolds said...

You said, "Matt Drudge has been helpfully posting the ratings for the CBS Evening news." The link you gave was to his main page. I don't see anything about Katie Couric and could only find links to two CBS news sites. Do you have another link?

John M Reynolds

Joan Tintor said...

Sorry John, it was on Drudge's main page the day I posted.

John M Reynolds said...

Thanks for the thought. I searched the archives and found this link:


Budd Campbell said...

You seem delighted that Couric is doing poorly compared to the other two. Is there a reason for that? Has she offended you in some way?