Why We Need Katie Couric to Succeed

Mon, April 7, 2008

Moms & Politics


On the heels of our Katie Couric meet-up this weekend, the Washington Post ponders what it calls Couric’s uphill battle to be seen as a success at the CBS Evening News.

After meeting with Katie and so many of her great staffers last week, I have been thinking about the similarities between her, the first solo woman network news anchor, and Hillary Clinton, the first “viable” woman candidate for President.

As I read Howard Kurtz’s article, I realized I wasn’t the only one noticing some parallels:

“She is trailing in a highly competitive contest against her male rivals, is occasionally covered in a condescending way and faces predictions that she’ll be forced out of the race.

Katie Couric understands what Hillary Clinton is going through.

‘I identify with her to a certain extent because we share a gender,’ the CBS anchor says. ‘I’m sensitive to coverage that can be very subtly stacked against her, maybe a headline that has a little more snarkiness about her. . . . I understand that kind of coverage because I’ve experienced it myself.’ “

So as I wondered a little while ago, how are we ever going to get to a point where we are ready for a woman president if many think we’re not ready for a woman solo nightly network news anchor?

As I’ve been letting this roll around my brain, it occurred to me that it’s not a matter of whether we’re ready for women in ultimate positions of authority. The problem is that so many hold women to higher and different standards than men who have the same qualifications. And when women are perceived to have fallen short, the attacks aren’t far behind.

Or has she succeeded and people are just ignoring it? The ratings for the CBS Evening News aren’t all that different from NBC and ABC. Could we call that a success?? I would.

We need Katie to stay put AND to succeed on the terms that others have set because her job is still viewed by so many as a ‘man’s job.’

Just like the Presidency.

We need the traction of some high level female success so that starts getting the media attention, rather than the stories about women “opting out,” a nice phrase coined to get away from saying “failed.”

I’m not trying to put pressure on my new “BFF” Katie, but I really hope she’ll stay around for a while. Things aren’t looking good for Hillary Clinton at the moment and we sure could use some high profile examples of strong, successful women if we’re ever going to get a real shot at putting some estrogen into the Oval Office, let alone the major news organizations that shape our view of women’s success.

(Katie Couric photo courtesy of Kimberly at Petroville, my new karaoke partner in crime! Karaoke photo courtesy of Mom-101. Yeah, she was there, too!)

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3 Responses to “Why We Need Katie Couric to Succeed”

  1. jen Says:

    you know, it’s funny because Couric gets slammed all the time, and then you and others get to be close to her and you see her in a new light, and it reminds me again and again how careful we really must be, that perception is not reality, and that if we were truly able to get up close and personal the world would be a much kinder place.

    great post, J.

  2. Mamma Says:

    Good post PM. I tread lightly here because I’m going to disagree just a bit.

    Katie seems like a lovely person, but I have a hard time viewing her as a serious journalist (despite the fact that I’m sure she is) because of the TODAY show. I wouldn’t watch Matt Lauer read the news either.

    Now Soledad O’Brien or Campbell Brown (despite both having stints on TODAY I believe) just come across as more serious.

    I don’t know if I agree that America isn’t ready for a female anchor. Maybe I’m being naive. But I think it’s the choice of who the first woman was they put in the chair. And that’s my issue with Hillary.

    Somedays I feel like it’s not that she’s a woman but rather that it is her. She was a polarizing figure before becoming a candidate. Now I’m not too stupid to think that women will be judged differently. We will. But we know that. I just think we have to look at who it is that we put up as our first examples.

    IMHO

    Hope you still love me.

  3. PunditMom Says:

    Mamma, you know I will always love you. Maybe I should have mad the point a little differently I know people have different views on news anchors, but since Karie Couric is in that CBS slot that has traditionally been one of great power in news, I would hate to see her replaced because of differing standards applied to men vs. women, as I feel the media is doing with Hillary.

    xo


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