September 6, 2006, - 9:14 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Welcome to the girlie-man news, hosted by . . . a girl. A girl with a strained, horse voice and very little gravitas or authority. A girl who plugged a new, company-owned product–Morgan Spurlock–but unethically didn’t disclose the connection to viewers.
Last night’s inaugural “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric,” got off to a valley girl newsmagazine start. Instead of hard news stories, like those with which ABC and NBC began, we were treated to “Hi, Everybody. I’m so happy to be here.” Since when are Katie Couric’s feelings “hard news”–and the lead story at that?
Then, right on to CBS reporteratrix with make-up and a South African accent, Lara Logan. Still no hard news. But we did get to see her being foolishly led on a wild goose chase by Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. A whole three minute-plus piece, and all we got out of it was her silly “Am I allowed to smile?” question to the Taliban fighters. Again, this is news?
Memo to CBS News execs (that means you Rome Hartman): Trying to attract the young Internet crowd? Long, boring pieces reported by a chick with an accent won’t cut it. Ditto for a long, useless interview with lefty New York Times columnist Tom Friedman. If we wanted to see “Disgrace the Nation” hosted by Katie, we’d watch the Sunday Morning shows.
Friedman as new national security expert? If Katie was really interested in the successes of our military strategy abroad and homeland security here, a better choice would have been a top law enforcement official or military expert. Not the obnoxious, token Jewish friend of King Abdullah of Saud.
But it gets worse. Remember Ross Perot’s idea of instant democracy by computer voting? Meet instant news editing/programming by computer voting? Katie invited viewers not only to pick guest commentators in the new “Free Speech” segment, but also to suggest what her new sign off should be. Since voting about CBS News is so important to her, why didn’t we get to vote on the host of the show? Don’t kid yourself into thinking she or CBS cares about your opinion.
If they did, do you really think America would have voted for fake-u-mentary maker Morgan Spurlock as the first “Free Speech” commentator? No. But Spurlock was chosen in an unethical choice by CBS, whose sister company, Viacom, owns Comedy Central, to which Spurlock is under contract to develop a political talk show replicating “Politically Correct” (the now defunct ABC show hosted by Bill Maher).
It’s ironic that a FAKE news maker like Spurlock is the first commentator on a new, revamped news show. In fact, it’s ominous. As I wrote in the Wall Street Journal, last summer, Spurlock’s TV “documentary” F/X series, “30 Days,” recruited me to be on a show about Islam. But before production had even started, he decided how the participant in the documentary would feel and what conclusions he would reach. Good to know that Katie & Company consider that news. And good to keep in mind while watching anything on this “newscast.”
Spurlock’s comments were so absurd, they were hilarious. He told viewers that he and they are in the center of America, the “middle of the road.” If that’s middle of the road to him and/or CBS, clearly they are out of touch. Spurlock is far-left. Not just liberal. But off the deep end of the far-left. While millions of Americans continue to patronize McDonald’s, he went to the extreme and made a phony “documentary,” “Supersize Me,” lambasting the chain.
Listening to this out-of-touch, goateed, oversized leprichaun from West Virginia claim that he will never get on national TV because he’s too calm and reasoned in his views is not only hilarious, it’s a flat-out lie. Again, he’s got a development deal with Comedy Central for a show to do exactly what he claims he can’t. And he just finished season two of fake-umentaries on F/X.
Is going to a high school, using expletives, and ridiculing disabled children and fast-food workers “reasoned,” “calm,” etc. to you? Hardly. But that’s exactly what Spurlock did at a suburban Philadelphia high school, just months ago–shocking administrators and parents. Whatta hypocrite this guy is.
Thanks, Katie, for disclosing CBS’ contract with Spurlock. Oh, yeah, she didn’t.
Then, there were the “View”-like segments of so-called news. The Entertainment Tonight segments. Photos of Tom and Katie’s new baby is news? Nope. But Katie showed us an old news-clip of Prince Charles’ baby photos to justify it as the news that it wasn’t.
And how about the Peter Gabriel song and human interest snapshot photos, another new feature of CBS News-Lite with Katie? No news there, either.
I switched back and forth to the other newscasts, and voila, news. I learned about the President’s speech on the War on Terror, 5 years after 9/11, from NBC and ABC. I heard about new figures and facts released about the Taliban’s continued strength in Afghanistan from them, too. ABC’s Brian Ross had an interesting interview/expose of the Pakistani’s lax policy of sheltering Bin Laden. NBC discussed new sources of oil-drilling in America and offshore.
CBS touched briefly on the oil story and the Prez’s speech. But those were light blips that got a lot less time than the closing shots of Katie’s legs in a mini skirt, at the end of the Katie-Cast.
Legs? Male viewers can see more, younger versions of that on FOX News Channel, almost 24/7 (minus the few hours of Greta, Sean, Bill, Brit, and Shep). Reporteratrices asking Talibanis if it’s okay to smile? E! could have sent Carmen Electra–and done it in less than 3 long minutes. Product plugs? It’s better done by Ricky Bobby. And he didn’t pretend to deliver the news at the same time.
Katie may have gotten a huge ratings bump, last night. But that’s what you get at the scene of a horrible accident: A lot of gawkers.
After that, the gawkers quickly return back to their normal lives. Watch Katie’s gawkers to grow tired, real fast.
It’s just not possible to take this chick delivering girlie-man news, seriously.
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