Tags: You | Go | Katie!

You Go, Katie!

Wednesday, 05 April 2006 12:00 AM

Watch out, Katie. The knives are out big-time. The first woman to anchor network news solo is not going to have an easy time of it.

Forget the fact that plenty of men have gone before her, and failed. They all had something she didn't.

Relative anonymity.

They looked alike. If they failed, they failed for themselves.

If she fails, she fails for all of us. If her numbers go down, they'll say America wasn't ready for a woman.

Could anything be more ridiculous?

Katie Couric is obviously an extremely talented person. She helped make the "Today" show the most popular morning show on network television and earned millions of dollars every year for the network.

She's decided to do what men do every day, which is make a career move. Because she's in the television business, and because it's a very visible job, her decision is getting a lot of attention. Fair enough.

But does anyone doubt that she's getting more attention than Ken Couric would be if he were making the same move? That's the benefit of being the first woman. It will be reflected in the ratings in the first weeks or month or so. They should go up, if for no other reason than curiosity.

Then the real test begins. That's the flip side of the first woman conundrum. The numbers may hold, or they may go down.

It may turn out, as many of the men are already beginning to speculate, that her "perky personality" is not perfectly suited to reading 22 minutes or less of news every night.

It may turn out that her skills as an interviewer are not well-utilized in that format. It may turn out that if the guys keep saying that and writing that over and over, enough times, between now and then, people will start believing it no matter what she does.

Predicting that she will fail could be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Am I a little paranoid? Absolutely. Is there reason? For sure. I read the reviews every day for someone who hasn't even signed a contract yet. Even paranoids have real enemies. Could there be a touch of jealousy out there?

Need I point out that Katie has paid her dues, worked her way up, taken her share of heat and then some, and lived through real tragedy in her personal life -- and yet she has continued to carry on as the true professional she is. That doesn't mean you have to like her. It just means she deserves her shot.

When Bob Woodruff was injured in Iraq, the buzz was that if it had been the other way around, if his co-anchor, Elizabeth Vargas, had been injured instead of him, he would be anchoring alone. Whether true or not, it told you where women stand. It's what makes the Katie news so momentous.

I look forward to the day when women can be judged just like everybody else, whether they're anchoring the news or running for president, when their success or failure belongs to them alone, and isn't seen as a judgment about the rest of us. But that day just hasn't come yet.

If Katie succeeds, it will be taken as a judgment that, yes, the country was ready. And if she doesn't, all the guys who write the pieces and opine on television will tell us that it was just too soon, that even Katie wasn't up to it, just like they'll tell us that America wasn't ready for a woman president, just not yet.

There are lots of people who think that nightly news is a dinosaur. To be honest, I tend to agree. After all, I work for Fox. But when Katie takes the chair, I'll be watching. If people are going to judge women by whether she succeeds, I know what side I'm on.

Go, girl. I'm with you.

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Watch out, Katie. The knives are out big-time. The first woman to anchor network news solo is not going to have an easy time of it. Forget the fact that plenty of men have gone before her, and failed. They all had something she didn't. Relative anonymity. They...
You,Go,,Katie!
654
2006-00-05
Wednesday, 05 April 2006 12:00 AM
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