Monday, March 26, 2007

Is Katie Couric a Hypocrite?

Katie Couric (photo) went through the terrible drama of losing a loved one -- her husband -- to cancer. All of us were in awe of her personal courage and wished her and her kids well through the process. Recently Elizabeth Edwards announced that her cancer is back and is not curable. The best she can hope for is to keep it at bay through various treatments.

Katie Couric interviewed Elizabeth and her Presidential contender husband, John, recently on the struggle of running for office while battling cancer. Katie told the candidate and wife that "family goes first and then work" and with that in mind, how can a candidacy for the Presidency be explained or justified. Mr. and Mrs. Edwards were shocked, mainly because the question was rude and, even more so, who it came from. Katie Couric, when her husband was diagnosed and fighting for his life, worked the very busy schedule of a professional journalist. Such individuals work 50 or 60 hours a week (and even more), and she appeared to not miss a beat.

As I indicated earlier, America supported Couric's decision as courageous. I believe it was during this time that the Today Show became unbeatable in the ratings war. So for her to be harsh to the Edwards who are choosing to fight their battle in this very personal way, it seemed inappropriate. America concluded that the battle that Katie's family had against cancer was very personal. I believe Americans feel the same about the Edwards. Some families might want to buckle down, be close, and fight it privately. Others may want to go on with their lives, while they have their lives, with gusto. This is the approach the Edwards' family is bravely taking. I believe everyone is shocked by Katie's response.

People are speculating as to why Couric was so harsh. Some say it was lashing out because of her continued rating problems, others believe it was from the deep convictions she developed because of her own personal experience, and others still believe she was merely being a tough journalist. If it is the latter, it didn't work. The Edwards quickly entered into the defensive mode and, in my opinion, the quality of the interview declined. She could have accomplished so much more from a position of empathy, rather than being holier than thou.

I'm no fan of the Edwards when it comes to their political beliefs, but I'm impressed with their courage and I commend them and others for the very personal way they are fighting this battle.

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Blogger Jon said...

Katie Couric showed us all a fatal lack of class and intelligence, and demonstrated as well (almost) everthing that is wrong with commercially-driven television "news" in this era.

6:24 PM  
Blogger Kevin Price said...

Thank you for your comment. I haven't quite come to the strong positions you are taking, but it certainly did demonstrate poor judgement. There certainly are problems with commercially driven news, but I would love to know your thoughts of an alternative. Thanks for your comment.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

Well, I think it's reasonably clear that the capabilities of the digital infsatructure of the Web is enabling / will create many alternatives (it can be argued that this is happening - an early shakeout phase - right now). Mass audiences are fragmenting .. shows like Couric's will play to niches, people who either tolerate or seek that style of innuendo andopinion based reorting ... but there will be other combinations of video and text reporting that other niche audiences seeking other styles will find and consume. The initial and obvious financial framework for the emerging constellation of niches is online advertising, which is undergoing some radical change at the moment in order to adapt to the dynamics of interconnected but only loosely couple fragment sand noches within what was formerly a much more captive audience. Additional revenue models are being explored by subscription and download fee for premium content, or certain kinds of packaging and delivery.

There are many legal issues and sociocultural issues associated with this major transition (again, I'd argue that it is well and truly underway) and I am pretty sure that there are active conversation and conflicts going on with respect to (for example) copyright, shared revenues allocation models, the growing riole of user-generated content and the dependencies that creates for social media business models, etc.

So .. I'm not sure that it's necessarily "an alternative", but I'm pretty sure that there are "many alternatives" brewing, some of which will work for some audiences and some which will not for, for intended audiences or any one else. When there are offerings that do not work for whatever reason, new ones will come along .. it's a world of streaming imagination supported by streaming user-generated content that's coming at you and me.

Re: Couric ... her particular style of slightly condescending and mean-spirited questioning wrapped up in sa upposedly "perky" personality package will find viewers, but from what I understand her popularity and ability to attract advertising dollars (which is essentially her role) has been eroding. On its way to a niche. I'm not surpised by that.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Kevin Price said...

Great comments, do you have a blog? I'd love to read it some time.

6:19 PM  

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