September 3, 2007

If she were Kevin Couric, she’d be a national hero

Posted in Feminism, Iraq, Media, News, Wingnuts at 1:54 pm by The Lizard Queen

Recently Katie Couric was criticized by wingnuts for heading to Iraq to do in-the-field coverage.  Won’t somebody think of the children?! they wailed.  I’m exaggerating, of course, but not by much (emphasis in the original):

In two separate segments yesterday, Fox News attacked CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric for reporting from the ground in Iraq, calling it “a desperate move” and asking if it was a “ratings ploy or legitimate journalism.”

On Your World With Neil Cavuto, guest host Dagen McDowell featured Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America, who characterized Couric’s trip as “a clear act of desperation” by a single mother whose “priorities [are] so determined by her ambition rather than her children’s welfare.” Crouse pointedly accused Couric of being a bad mother for going to cover Iraq:

I would say the same thing if this were a man journalist going out there, a male anchor, because when you look at the choice she’s making, she’s saying my ratings are more important than my children. That’s the bottom line.

Later in the afternoon, The Big Story With John Gibson hosted New York Post columnist Linda Stasi, who called Couric’s trip “a desperate move” to gain “some sort of credibility.” “You know and I know that she doesn’t have to be there for the report,” said Stasi.

First of all, technically speaking, yes, Katie Couric is a single mother.  However, generally that phrase is used as a pejorative for an uppity woman who chooses not to get married or chooses to get divorced.  I think they’re trying to do the same thing here — except that in this case in particular that phrase only serves to make the wingnuts look bad, because Katie Couric is a widow.  You’d think they’d be pointing to Couric as a model of wifelyhood: look at her, her husband died and she had the decency not to get remarried!  She’s wedded to his memory!  But evidently their frustration at a woman’s choice to remain without a man trumps their you’re-only-supposed-to-get-married-once rhetoric.  Plus she kept her last name when she married her late husband, so she is clearly an irredeemable feminazi.

Second, and this is a fairly minor point, but Couric’s two daughters are 11 and 16.   If something happened to Couric, I have no doubt that her daughters would be devastated.  Losing a parent is difficult no matter how old you are.  But these are not babies we’re talking about, dependent on their parents for even fairly basic bodily functions.  They are autonomous beings, able to make their own decisions to a certain extent and be trusted with certain levels of responsibility.  They don’t need Mom at home 24/7 to take care of them.

Third, what does this say about single mothers in the military?  Oh, wait — are we pretending there aren’t any?  Right-o, then.

Finally, in spite of Crouse’s statement that she’d be saying the same thing if this were a male journalist, I think gender has a great deal to do with wingnuts’ objections here.  Consider if the situation were reversed in terms of gender: Kevin Couric is an anchor on CBS news.  His wife died nine years ago, leaving him with two children to raise.  Nevertheless, he pressed on with his career in journalism, bringing him to the point he’s at now.  He also did a great deal to raise awareness of the type of cancer that took his wife’s life.  (Let’s take a moment to blot the tears from the corners of our eyes.)  Now we’re at war in Iraq, and the moonbats are complaining that the American news media isn’t covering the situation with the intensity it deserves, so he’s going to tuck his microphone under one arm and clipboard under the other and head out into the field to get some real stories.  I have a hard time believing that the same people who are crying about Katie Couric leaving her children behind in an attempt to boost ratings would not be throwing Kevin Couric a ticker-tape parade.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a particularly big fan of Katie Couric as a journalist.  I don’t watch the CBS news.  I’m just in favor of calling a spade a spade.

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3 Comments »

  1. Dizzy said,

    Excellent post. Thanks for articulating exactly what’s been bugging me about the brouhaha.

  2. DavidD said,

    You’re right, Liz, I doubt anyone from Concerned Women for America is gender-neutral about anybody.

    I admit I’m biased about Katie Couric, as I have an opinion about her even though I haven’t once watched her on CBS. I know there were times as Today Show host when she said something I hated. I don’t remember any of those times now, though. I wasn’t a regular viewer. It might have been about her saying harsh, judgmental things, but I only clearly remember agreeing with someone, “We don’t like her.” I don’t think that was a gender thing. I find myself in agreement with Media Matters on almost all celebrities. Their pieces on Katie Couric don’t seem about gender to me. I especially liked criticism of the segment from last October when she introduced a parent who said school shootings were because of abortion and teaching evolution. What’s the word – pandering? I notice in trying to find those right now that she’s not on their top 100 list. You have to go to their most comprehensive list to find her. I guess that’s why she has to go to Iraq. I bet her boss would want a man to do the same thing, even with no hope of becoming a national hero. Don’t you think Concerned Women for America would have their gender-specific barbs ready for such a Kevin Couric? Oh, his poor, neglected daughters having to live on the wrong side of the culture war. We will pray for them.

    I didn’t know she kept her maiden name. You know, I had occasion to use my ex-wife’s name as my own when there was a benefit involved. I think it’s best to be flexible myself.

  3. gingermiss said,

    I wouldn’t expect any less than illogical sexist name-calling from Fox News and the people they choose to speak on their air.


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