Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The forein affairs correspondent was PRETTIER?


Katie Couric 2001, originally uploaded by BILLBINNS.

When it comes to Katie Couric, I'm pretty much neutral. I never watched The Today Show enough ( at all?) to become a fan. Nor do I have any opinion or knowledge of her qualifications to become a news anchor.

Thus, I've been fairly oblivious to reports about the money she was paid, what she was planning to wear for her debut, and whether or not she recently had Restylane injections--though obviously more news of Katie than I need to know has crossed my radar screen.

But when a female writer for the New York Times critiqued her first night on the job by saying she was upstaged by a pretty war correspondent in a black chador, I admit it: I was a little annoyed.

I mean, seriously, how many times was it implied that Tom Brokaw might have a problem because (uh-oh!) the foreign correspondent looked better in his Chanel glasses?

22 comments:

Sandra Ruttan said...

The pressure on women in the media is unbelievable. And unfair.

zhoen said...

I'll second your annoyance and add a desparing whimper of frustration. In no small part because such comments are as likely to come from women as men.

Sara said...

I'm so glad it's not just me. This morning on NPR -- NPR!!! NP-effing-R!!!! -- some woman gave a literal blow-by-blow of Couric's first night on this show. ON THE MORNING NEWS. AS IF THIS WERE ACTUALLY NEWS OR ANALYSIS.

Pardon my screaming. It really, really pissed me off. Yes, there is a problem, and this is how the problem gets perpetuated.

rdl said...

Right on sister! I know what are we back in the 70's - so much for the woman's revolution.

Patry Francis said...

sandra: I guess it's one advantage of being a writer. Reviewers write about the work--not which writer is "prettier". At least, I hope so. Then again, there's been all that buzz about how good looking Marisha Pessl is.

zhoen: Yes, that's what bothered me most. The article I read was written by a woman, too. Frustration is the word.

Sara: Even on NPR? Say it isn't so!

r: One step forward, two steps back?

Fred Garber said...

I did not see Katie on her debut show. I am a fan of hers and I do not care what she wears. I don't think it is fair to judge a new restaurant during it's first few weeks and I think the same should go for Katie. Anyway my wife and I were watching las noticias on Azteca America. We were watching as Calderon was declared the victor in Mexico's most recent fraudulant election....shades of Florida in 2000....Look,Katie could wear blue lipstick, have green hair and wear punk clothes, and this man would not care. She has a magnetic personality and is a serious reporter. She is going to kick some serious ass!!!!!

Living Part Deux said...

What a comment on the decline of American conscience and consciousness. So sad we are more avaricious for eye candy than for critical information that might actually have an impact on our lives - that we are floating through so indiscriminately. (Whoops. I think you struck a nerve.)

Patry Francis said...

Fred: If you're a fan, KC must be awesome. As I said, I don't watch much TV so I've never seen much of her work.

Maybe what bugs me most is that the media focuses more on stuff like what Katie is wearing than on important news stories like the Calderon thing. I hope you're right; I hope she proves it's all about the news, not about how the woman who's reporting it looks.

Nova said...

I know very little of Katie Couric also. I'm never around a television to ever get to watch the Today Show. It's been too long since I've been able to properly sit down and really watch the news really. But I did read reports and critiques of her first day on the job. It didn't really interest me much. It was just all so high-schoolish. I mean who really cares what she's wearing or what the other correspondent was wearing, right?

Patry Francis said...

Rebekah: You say it so well.

Nova: High schoolish is the perfect description.

Coll said...

I must agree here. I am embarrassed for the female writer. What a sexist statement.

MB said...

I'll, um... ninth it?

donna said...

Gotta keep us broads in our place - it's all about our looks, after all.

Sheesh.

The Curmudgeon said...

Yes, I agree, most of the commentary on the CBS debut of Ms. Couric is incredibly shallow. (I've seen comments somewhere -- they all run together after awhile -- on whether she did -- or did not -- "flash too much leg" in an interview segment. I didn't see the show and can't comment on that.)

BUT is all this nonsense happening JUST because she's a woman -- or MIGHT it be because she's a newsreader/entertainer and therefore subject to criticism based on appearance and performance? At least in part?

Didn't Brian Williams go through something similar on NBC when he replaced Brokaw? (I seem to recall the gravitas question in his case as well... although I do not recall photos of Brian Williams touring the NBC studios days before his first broadcast sans makeup.)

paris parfait said...

Amen! Women always get critiqued for their appearance, whereas the men can get away with anything. Infuriating!

robin andrea said...

I never watch network news. It all seems very vacuous and geared to ratings and not serious journalism. If we had serious journalism, we wouldnt' be in this mess we are in today. As long as people care about what the newscaster looks like, and if a few pounds have been airbrushed off a photo, we can go on invading countries and depriving people of their basic human rights. How did America become so obsessed with such things and forget what's really important?

Lorna said...

I don't know which was better: your post or others' comments.

Patry Francis said...

I have to agree with Lorna. The comments are better than the post. I love it when that happens...

Sky said...

Amen, sister!

But, I must admit, I am a huge Katie fan! I watched her when she delivered the news on the Today show long before she took over the anchor spot there. I am thrilled at what her new anchor job means for women in media. I rarely watch the regular 3 network news since I watch other news channels, but I am checking in on Katie for sure.

A little dish here: her current salary is a small amount less at CBS than it would have been had she stayed at NBC on the Today show. NBC would have paid more money to keep her, but she was ready for this challenge. Money had nothing to do with her taking on this job.

Patry Francis said...

Sky: Good to hear the perspective of someone who's followed KC's career for a while. From the way she's responded to some of the criticism, it's obvious that behind the friendly smile is one strong woman.

colleen said...

I got nervous when on the first night she featured a spot about Tom Cruise's baby (which was really just a photo from Vanity Fair). I thought I had tuned into Entertainment Tonight by mistake.

Patry Francis said...

colleen: I think that has been the fear--that she will increase the "news as entertainment" or "entertainment as news" trend that serves to distract us from what's really happening.

I hope it's not true, though. I hope she'll be the best damn anchor we've ever had.