CBS News Circling the Drain

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Dan Rather was not the best newsman. He was not terrible, but he was very flawed, prone to serious lapses in journalistic judgment.

Cronkite and Murrow were far better anchors. Rather, by any objective standard, was a significant step down from those journalistic titans.

But ... Katie Couric? She is the News Anchor Barbie compared to Cronkite and Murrow. Nothing more than a pretty face with a string to pull to make her say what you want. I've watched her many times on NBC, on the Today Show and elsewhere, and she is a mental midget.

My favorite example of this was the 2000 elections. It was Tom Brokaw (another giant of the field), Tim Russert (not the brightest bulb, but he mostly knows his stuff, and tries really hard to do a good job), and Katie Couric.

As we all remember, this election lasted late into the evening. Tom and Tim were getting tired, and fumbling a little bit. But Couric was ... useless. One discussion went something like this:

Tom: Tim, walk us through it again, for any new viewers we might have.
Tim: Well Tom, Florida remains the key. As you can see from my whiteboard, whoever wins Florida wins the presidency.
Tom: Katie, do you have anything to add?
Katie: This reminds me of that episode of Friends where Ross and Chandler were arguing over who was going to take the trash out ...

OK, I don't remember what she actually said, and it probably wasn't about Friends. But it was equally inane. And it happened several times. And she would finish, and Tom and Tim would pause at her, skip a beat, and then pretend she wasn't there. It was entirely embarassing.

Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, the late Peter Jennings, and current NBC anchor Stone Phillips all are very good newsmen who do much of their own reporting, write their own questions, think up new questions on the spot, and so on. Brokaw was the managing editor of NBC News, and it's not because he was just a pretty face.

If not for Couric's pretty face -- which we all must admit is not as pretty as it once was -- she would have been stuck getting coffee for Brokaw. And getting the order wrong every time.

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on April 5, 2006 10:27 AM.

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