Couric: still America’s sweetheart?

First, she was expected to step into the shoes of Dan Rather and single-handedly stem the slide in evening news ratings. Now, in the wake of a backlash over her interview with presidential nominee John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, a story claims Katie Couric has enemies in her own newsroom. Are pundits piling on?

"The atmosphere around Couric has turned poisonous" says the National Journal. "For a while, as her ratings surfed the bottom, she enjoyed some free-floating sympathy. But now the tone has shifted into the kind of popular animus normally reserved for corrupt public officials."

It's a Fox News column that reports that some of Couric's bad PR is coming from CBS insiders, and suspects one major source is veteran journalist and temporary Rather replacement Bob Schieffer, unhappy with his dwindling airtime on CBS Evening News.

A CBS news blog called Couric & Co. responded to Couric criticism after the Edwards interview. However, it has yet to address any rumors of tension in the newsroom.

The UVA alumna, typically praised for her compassionate interview style (most recently on display at Virginia Tech), was publicly criticized for "grilling" the Edwardses in late March.

Ironically, Couric became a spokeswoman for cancer awareness when her husband died of cancer in 1998. Three years later, her sister and former Charlottesville Senator Emily Couric died from cancer, inspiring the newswoman to help fund UVA's planned Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center.

A tidal wave of criticism surfaced online after the Couric-Edwards interview, with websites like the Drudge Report and the Huffington Post among others jumping on the bandwagon.

#

3 comments

What's wrong with asking tuff questions -- especially if they're coming from a journalist/personality with a rep for tossing creampuffs to her interview subjects?

If John Edwards wants to make a play for the presidency, then he understands that any and all questions are fair game. His wife already knows this, too. And they've been through it before, as Edwards was Kerry's running mate in 2004.

Couric is probably just trying to butch up so she'll be taken more seriously.

On the flip side, swirling whispers of Couric's dark side have been going aorund for years. Recall that not too long ago a few of her former colleagues on the Today show were grousing like they wanted to stab her in the heart with an icepick.

This is big stakes, big money tee-vee, sports fans. About the only way CBS is gonna regain its long-gone lead spot among the evening news broadcasters is if NBC decides to rebroadcast some more of the Lunatic Cho Show, which has caused a stinging backlash against the Peacock. As well it should.

Actually, I consider myself something of a newshound, and I dont recall anything approaching the "tidal wave" of criticism mentioned in this post.

The problem isn't that she asked tough questions of the Edwards', the problem is that she definitely came across as mean-spirited and not even remotely empathetic.