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Calling Bullshit on Les Moonves: CBS sucked before Katie Couric, so leave her vagina out of your low ratings

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June 14th, 2007

By Guest Blogger Erica Vest

The Financial Times has a spiffy little article that has the big wig’s over at CBS blaming Katie Couric’s overall sucky-ness (I love making up words) on her vagina.

“I’m sort of surprised by the vitriol against her. The number of people who don’t want news from a woman was startling,” Mr. Moonves said of the audience’s reaction to Ms. Couric, who this month brought ratings for the CBS Evening News to a 20-year low.

Ouch. a 20-year low being blamed on being a girl. That stings. Although, it would sting more if it were TRUE.

The same broadcasting company that went crazy on the press when it HIRED Couric, saying gender was NOT an issue, is now making gender the issue when it comes to their boneheaded decision to put Katie in the anchor seat.

Let me make myself clear here … I love Katie. Hell, my husband wants to SLEEP with Katie. But the Katie adoration in this house comes from years of watching her giggle while she tried to help test a popular toy or while she dressed up like Dorothy and sang a little tune. We love her because she blushes and flirts with LL Cool J and Colin Farrell (seriously, did anyone else see that interview? I’m pretty sure she would have blown him on the set) while she tries to ask “serious” questions about upcoming films and CD’s.

I’m calling bullshit on CBS’s assumption Americans are turning away from a Couric newscast because she’s a girl. Don’t insult us. More specifically, don’t insult ME. I spent many years as a professional journalist and I know serious from fluff. Hiring Couric now looks like a publicity stunt. CBS was #3 before Katie. It was #3 with Dan Rather. Don’t blame it on her being a girl. CBS sucked before and then you hired Katie and now your reason is … she’s a girl? Um … yeah … not so much there Mr. Moonves. You brought a woman into a #3 spot vacated by an American Icon who left in disgrace. Now you’re blaming that #3 on the GENDER factor?

I’ve been waiting my ENTIRE LIFE for a woman to take over the “big” newscast. I’m waiting for her to run the country from the White House and I’m waiting for her to rule the world.

CBS needs to understand I’m not stupid. Just because I love Katie trying to skate with Tara Lapinski doesn’t mean I want Katie discussing violence in the Middle East. CBS and it’s media brethren need to stop capitalizing on my gender. You can’t use gender to grab attention with your hire and then blame us for your failures.

Give me Christiane Amanpour next time, then we’ll have a real discussion about gender and equality. We can talk seriously about how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.

Until then, I’m going to watch all the women anchors on my local news … turns out we seem to take them seriously … hmmmmmm.

Guest Blogger Erica Vest spent eight years bringing you live, breaking news on-the-air at Los Angeles news institution KFWB and other broadcasting outlets. She has six Golden Mike Awards stashed in the closet from those KFWB Los Angeles days including “Best Investigative Reporting: Port in Peril,” the piece that touched off dozens of local, state and federal hearings on our nation’s port security. (Not to mention a swarm of similar stories and investigations by news networks across the nation.) Erin has spent the past three years making her own headlines on the motherhood front, with the birth of a son in 2003 and a daughter in 2005. But never without critiquing the evening news and second-guessing an editor’s choice of morning headlines. She chronicles the afterlife of big city reporter turned Mommy at her personal blog where she is known as the “Queen of Spain“–this post originally appeared there.

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