I was going to write about Katie Couric’s eminent demise as anchor of the CBS Evening News when it went public a few days ago, but decided I had nothing sensible to add. I am not sure I do now, but I do have a tasty tidbit.
First of all, Katie Couric’s eminent dismissal should come as no surprise. It was talked early last year that Couric would go after the presidential election. I raised an eyebrow at the recent implication it would be after the presidential inauguration instead. Couric it appears wants to cover her gal pal Hillary’s potential swearing in.
There was little difference in the main motivation behind Cronkite’s forced retirement and Rather’s ejection from the CBS Evening News. CBS News wanted something new.
The big exception with Rather was that as Managing Editor he had more decision-making power than Cronkite and liked to use it, an increasingly unappetizing prospect for CBS upper management.
CBS News were therefore waiting like the man behind the curtain with the hook in a vaudeville show to get Rather off the stage. When the opportunity presented itself with the bonus of appeasing both corporate owners and the White House, CBS News grabbed it with both hands.
CBS News wants something new yet again. Couric, however, has neither the audience appeal and ratings of a Walter Cronkite, nor the great reporting credentials and sheer force of personality of a Dan Rather. So in Couric’s case, CBS News are pushing her out with innuendo and planned leaks.
Dan Rather, fully aware of what Katie Couric was facing when she joined CBS News, offered a helping hand.
In an interview today with Rachel Sklar for The Huffington Post, Rather has this to say:
I reached out to her right after it was announced that she was taking the job. Nothing ever came of that — I reached out to her and had a conversation with her and that was the last I’ve heard. I do want to make clear that I never have had, nor do I now have, any animosity toward her — I thought I could help her because frankly, I didn’t think she had any idea that she knew what she was stepping into — all the problems with infrastructure that had been severely damaged over the past few years.
Rather also gives his suggestions for Couric’s replacement.
I’m a Scott Pelley fan and I think Pelley given the right resources and the right amount of time would be very good at the job. But it isn’t limited to him. John Roberts who was there before would also have been a good choice,” said Rather.
I agree with Rather that Scott Pelley is an outstanding candidate. However, the drumbeats around CNN are that Anderson Cooper is being considered once again for “the Chair.”
Cooper has already dipped his toe in CBS waters with a few segments for 60 Minutes. The question is does Cooper want the assignment. Cooper is keeping his cards close to his vest, and no one close to him seems to know or are willing to say what his thoughts are.
Sounds like a pretty good match to me. If CBS News are willing to buy canned news from CNN, why not take their silver-haired boy to read it out to the masses for them as well.