Katie's Parade of Praise Includes Cracking on 'Cattiness'

Katie Couric is on the cover of today's Parade Magazine supplement in the Sunday Washington Post, among other papers nationwide. The article by novelist Jacquelyn Mitchard (the first author honored by Oprah's Book Club, Parade tells us) seems pitched at the female viewer, with heavy focus on her personal life and personal grief. But there are a few tidbits about the news. For one, Couric had one quote that sounded like her CBS ad: "The biggest job isn't telling people what happened. It's getting them to understand why they should care." Sounds like a recipe for a lot of editorializing.

Just above that, Mitchard complains about anyone who would question the gravitas of Couric taking over the Dan Rather chair in media distortion. The nerve! She may be talking about you, Matt Felling, meow:

"Considerable cattiness ('Not much, just some,' Couric argues) has greeted this announcement, with pundits wondering if the woman who once dressed as The Donald on the Today show for a Halloween gag has the chops for prime time.

"Most of the criticism rolls off Couric's back, though she wonders what yearnings in others' hearts prompt such vitriol. She mentions what she calls 'the tall poppy syndrome' -- building up a public figure in order to chop that person down. 'Maybe it's just my size. Maybe it's my looks. Maybe it's my gender. Maybe it's just...' She doesn't use the word 'jealousy,'  but it hangs, unspoken, in the air."

From there, Mitchard calls Katie a "rapacious overachiever," so it's clear whose tank she's echoing in. It's time to start the Quayle lines: "Katie Couric, still gaining acceptance...." This is not about her gender. (How many serious female news anchors have media experts not questioned? Elizabeth Vargas was questioned less than Couric.) It's certainly not about her size or looks! It might be about the enormous wad of money she makes, or her diva reputation. But mostly, it's about the work -- cheeky, perky, cheesy, light, sometimes unbearably light.

And she ought to be asked if she regrets the Halloween costumes. Anyone see Tom Brokaw in a Frankenstein get-up a la Al Gore?

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis