Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Anchors Away!

News Note: Couric to Quit CBS News

“If the network news is indeed a public trust, deserving of the special place it occupies in our culture, then surely the American public should have a say about who is in charge of its premier product—the nightly newscasts, without which, let’s face it, we could barely call ourselves a nation. They’re our anchors, and it’s time we started choosing them in a truly democratic way, through free and fair popular elections. Anchor elections make good sense….

“The media have had a bad run of scandals, and their public-esteem numbers are riding low. They can recover their reputation by turning TV news into a true republic—a word that comes from the Latin phrase for ‘thing of the people.’ That's what the anchor plebiscite would be, a people thing.”

—William Powers, columnist, National Journal, 3/10/06 URL

Katie Couric is talking about leaving the Walter Cronkite Memorial News Anchor Chair at CBS when her contract expires in June. See David Folkenflik on National Public Radio, and an interview with The New York Times, in which she said these things:

At your first job at CNN, the head of the network, Reese Schonfeld, famously said you just didn’t possess the gravitas to be in TV news.
A: Which I think is Latin for “testicles” by the way. But to give this some perspective: I was 23 years old.

Q: For the 15 years you co-hosted “Today,” no one seemed capable of writing about you without using one particular descriptor. Tell me about your current relationship with the word “perky.”
A: It used to bother me because I thought there was a sexist undertone to that word. It meant shallow and cute, but not somebody who had any depth. It did become a pejorative word, but listen, it’s better than “bitchy.”

Editorial Comment: I nominate Pat Paulson. He’s dead, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing in a network anchor.

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