Sunday, March 25, 2007

Right Now I'm Watching Katie Couric's Edwards Interview

So pardon my bad mood.

I was moved by the dignity and grace Senator and Mrs. Edwards showed in that extraordinary press conference. I was particularly struck by how these two very religious people kept that part of their lives to themselves, rather than diluting their faith by exploiting it.

It's especially remarkable given that most politicians wouldn't dare pass up the chance to cloak themselves in religion. George W. Bush, in particular, mawkishly name-checks The Almighty more than all the NFL quarterbacks and American Music Award winners combined.

I always find it fascinating that "super-Christian-better-than-us" George W. Bush almost never attends church. He only goes to ceremonial services, preferring to do his regular worship "in private." (Presumably untranscribed and not under oath.) Ronald Reagan also slept in most Sundays. Bill Clinton, meanwhile, went to church as often as possible. I'm just saying.

(I also find it fascinating to point out, lest anyone forget, that Nancy Reagan was pregnant when she married Ronnie, and Laura Bush killed a guy. Let's never ever forget those things.)

But I digress. Back to why Couric is pissing me off.

She has just finished asking the Edwards her fifth consecutive version of the same question. Each time, their answers were dignified, inspiring, moving, and still didn't satisfy Katie.

Those who've followed her career know that when Katie starts a question with "Some would say..." or "What do you say to those..." she's really talking about herself. There is no "some" or "those"... It's just her. And Couric's pretend people apparently wanted her to ask the same question over and over. And Katie must obey her imaginary friends.

In a nutshell this was the question: How can they justify continuing to work when they have so little time left together? Doesn't the Senator belong with his wife? How can he work and take care of her? And shouldn't they both be devoting all this precious time to their children?

Excuse me, but when Jay Monahan was battling cancer, did Katie Couric leave her job? Did she say to NBC, "Listen, we have little girls, Jay is sick, I gotta take the next 8 or 9 months off"?

I don't believe so, but I could be wrong. If Katie Couric was absent from Today for nine months that awful year and I simply didn't notice, I stand corrected.

If, however, she and her family decided that she should work during that time, then there's a reason it hasn't come up: No one has any right to question or criticize that decision.

How a family chooses to deal with a crisis was nobody's business then, and it's nobody's business now.


peeky said...

The lighting between the Edwards and Couric was so drastically different--theirs looked warm and normal, while hers was a chilly bright wash with her giant face filling the entire screen--that at first I thought they were in different rooms. And yes, her interview style was hostile for some idiotic reason. Um, why be hostile about someone's illness? She often is, and it's one more reason I'm glad her show is tanking. Hi!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. I had the same sick feeling when Couric continued her badgering of the Edwardses on a level so degrading to their personal dignity in the face of something so serious. I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat but vote for the individual, and last night I saw an individual made stronger by the shared devotion of his spouse. Yes, Mrs. Edwards may be very sick, but they both shine compared to Katie Couric and her baseless questions. Katie is just sick in another way.

Boski93 said...

Hey Katie you are killing the nightly news so you may want to take some time off.

She makes me ashamed to be an American Studies major.

Katie may a large polo mallet find the top of your head.

Again sir excellent work.

Michael Markowitz said...

Peeky, so right. Most women who are in denial about their aging go the soft route, opting to be photographed through gauze or, in the case of Cybill Shepherd or Barbara Walters, cheesecloth.

But Katie insists (and you know it's her call) on the most garish lighting imaginable to highlight every caked-on smear of mascara and every spackle-filled wrinkle. With all that makeup and all that frosting -- to paraphrase Harry Shearer's Mr. Blackwell character on the Simpsons -- "Memo to Katie Couric: cheerleader tryouts were forty years ago."

Here's how I know my world makes no sense any more: I agree with Laura Ingraham! She spoke eloquently and passionately against those who criticize the Edwards' decision.

Yorktown, you said it. Yesterday on the always Unreliable RELIABLE SOURCES on CNN, Howard Kurtz chastised White House reporters for aggressively questioning Tony Snow on the "not under oath" condition. He wondered if asking the same question ten times in a row isn't unfair.

Okay... my world is back to making no sense again.

Michael Markowitz said...

So true, Bosk. In fact, judging from the criticism Katie is taking today from media critics, I'll bet she wishes she had a flux capacitor about now.

From "Why Katie is in Third"

She used this construct perhaps four times: "There are those who would say ..." or "How do you respond to people who might say you are putting your ambition to be President ahead of your family's needs."

* When I was press secretary to Dan Quayle or Newt Gingrich and a reporter started a question that way I would always say the same thing: "Who. Who is saying that? Give me a single person -- not in your newsroom -- who is saying that." And, of course, the reporter couldn't quote anyone and I had the upper hand from that point forward.

* That approach shows a shocking lack of self-confidence. If you are the anchor of the CBS Evening News you don't need to hide behind some mysterious, mystical, anonymous "they."