Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Couric's Bad Ratings a Sexist Reaction?

CBS exec Moonves attributes Couric's bad ratings to viewers not being ready to accept serious news from a woman.

If you think he's just being defensive, or creating up some crazy explanation for his show's bad ratings, consider this: Dan Rather's choice of words on Monday to explain why Couric's show isn't popular:

The former CBS anchor said in a radio interview:

"I want to make clear that I have nothing against Katie Couric at all. She’s a very nice person and I have a lot of friends at CBS News. However, it was clear at the time and I think it has become even clearer that the mistake was to try to bring the ‘Today’ ethos to the evening news and to dumb it down, tart it up, in hopes of attracting a younger audience.

It's quite shocking that Dan Rather's mind somehow, conscious or subconscious (let's give him some benefit of doubt), chose the word "tart," which means prostitute, to refer to a news show headed by a woman.

His choice of words shows how hard it is for people to view a woman with gravitas. Sure, Couric is feminine and bright and perky, but that's what made her so popular on the Today show. Is there a woman out there that viewers would accept serious news from? A woman that an esteemd former anchor wouldn't suggestively call a prostitute? Christiane Amanpour???

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