For some ungodly reason, CBS apparently decided that the one person in all of television journalism alive today who was most capable of carrying on their legacy of high quality reportage in the tradition of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite was…little Katie Couric. Andy Rooney-whom I normally try my best not to listen to-made a good point when he suggested that twenty million dollars a year could go to reopening news bureaus that had been closed across the world and hiring new reporters. Instead, that twenty million dollars will go to a woman whose biggest claim to journalistic fame is describing the gigantic helium balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade each year.
Katie Couric has this image of every woman wanting to be like her and every man wanting to date her. The first is ridiculous, the second is beyond belief. I personally know of no man who finds Katie Couric desirable. In fact, it used to be a common joke around my house that whenever Couric’s red-lipsticked visage appearance on our television screen that I would say, “There’s the little clown.” She looks like Krusty the Klown from The Simpsons! Desirable? Sexy? Maybe in the bizarro world where Superman is evil and George Bush is smart.
Over three years ago I predicted that American troops would still be in Iraq five years later, that democracy would still be a pipedream and that, much like how Yugoslavia fell into ethnic civil wars, Iraq would be a morass of conflicting ideologies that pointed up just how clueless our leaders are when they consider Islam to be one unified religion. Today I make another prediction: Katie Couric will be gone from the CBS News anchor chair within two years.
It is my sincere hope that she will be replaced by the one television news broadcaster that should have been tapped as the permanent replacement for Dan Rather. That woman is Soledad O’Brien, from CNN. Now if you really want to get into a discussion of a female news personality that appeals to both men and women-for perhaps different reasons-then take a look at Soledad O’Brien. She is smart, funny and so far hasn’t kissed Pres. Bush’s ass-either of the Presidents Bush-on national television as Katie Couric has done during her interviews with Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber.
Soledad O’Brien is far more attractive than Katie Couric, but that’s beside the point. Or at least it should be. Needless to say, Katie Couric would not be coming anywhere near the CBS Evening News anchor chair if she looked like, say, Joan Rivers or Vanessa Redgrave. But the truth is that the attractiveness that is for some reason attributed to Katie Couric is exponentially multiplied by Soledad O’Brien. The difference in their respectability as journalists is even wider. Katie Couric has acted in both an Austin Powers movie and a Will & Grace episode. (Though the latter can be forgiven, I guess, since I can only assume that everyone who works at NBC was required to appear on that best-forgotten piece of tripe.) While Katie Couric has attempted to justify an NBC special on the Harry Potter movies as “hard news” Soledad O’Brien has been interviewing former FEMA head Michael Brown and reporting from the tsunami devastation in Thailand. Yes, one can definitely see why Katie Couric will be entrusted to head up the CBS News division.
Is Soledad O’Brien the most qualified person to become CBS Evening News anchor? Of course not. But she’s ten thousand more times qualified than Katie Couric. Of course, dwarfing both Soledad and Katie is the one person in the news business today who is the single most deserving journalist to take over the mantle from Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather: Amy Goodman.
Amy Goodman isn’t a recognizable name or face to most people, though many of the most well-informed Americans would quickly recognize her as the voice of Democracy Now. Why is Amy Goodman singularly qualified to report the news to America? Consider that in 1991 when Katie Couric was simply reading the news for the Today Show, Amy Goodman was in East Timor reporting on the independence movement there. She was brutally beaten after having been caught witnessing a fatal crackdown on demonstrators.
Or consider what Amy Goodman’s interviews with celebrities are like. Remember Al Lewis, who played Grandpa Munster on The Munsters? Can you imagine what a Katie Couric interview with him would be like? Finding out how much the cast hated the makeup rituals, or how Butch Patrick was already starting to get into music? Do you know what Amy Goodman’s interview with Al Lewis was about? His radical political philosophies. It’s doubtful that Katie Couric’s researchers would even have bothered delving that deeply into his background.
Amy Goodman will never become an anchor for a national network newscast. Because she has been one of the very few journalists to question Pres. Bush and his invasion of Iraq from the beginning. While people like Katie Couric-and Soledad O’Brien-sat in their seats and diligently ignored the huge gaping wholes in the story that was being spoon-fed America to gain support for an unnecessary and illegal war, Amy Goodman was bucking the system and asking inconvenient questions. When she was allowed the opportunity, that is.
So Katie Couric will take over as anchor of CBS Evening News and within just a few weeks it will be agreed that she is in way over her head and the suits at CBS will begin trying to figure out a way to save face. Then, within two years, it will be announced that Katie Couric wants to get out from behind the anchor chair and get back to real reporting. Whatever that means for her. At which point Amy Goodman’s name won’t even be in the largest pool of possible replacements. But Soledad O’Brien’s might be.
Unless by that time ABC has figured out that Charles Gibson is no Peter Jennings and decides to banish him back to early morning.