Why I hate Katie Kouric

23 July, 2008

Ok, not really, but I don’t like her work much these days.

Last night I was struck with a bit of insomnia, so I do what I always do – I turned on my TV and zoned out. I don’t have cable so I’m stuck with a very few chanels. One of those is CBS, so I got to watch the back to back interview with Senators Barack Obaba and John McCain, at least 3 times. Insomnia was real bad. You can watch the interview yourself at CBS News.com. I’d post them here but there are Exxon advertisements imbedded, and so I won’t.

So, here’s what struck me about the interview. The Obama interview was the two of them in an open space with lights. Two cameras, no other stuff. She asked Obama some reasonable questions, but then she got to asking about “The Surge”. As soon as Ms. Couric asked Obama three times about The Surge (once vague, once more specific, and once insultingly directly after he answered three times quite thoroughly). He used answers that were direct and showed a nuanced understanding of the situation. Then they cut the last 2/3rds of the interview and suddenly, as soon an Obama stopped talking there we were, mid-interview with Sen. McCain. Her interview with him was, well, different. It was a once camera thing and she and McCain were not in the same room. His sentences were shorter, and were more about Obama than about The Surge itself. Also, whenever McCain was asked about The Surge, he answered, but the video went from a one-shot of his face to footage of our servicepeople being heroes in Iraq – building schools, directing traffic, etc…

So, when Obama talks about Iraq, he gets asked obtuse questions, and when McCain is asked, he gets footage of our servicemembers at work.

In the end, the piece was poorly edited, and had an agenda so palpable I had to duck repeatedly else I be brained by it. The Surge is a media narrative every bit as much as it is a military strategy, and Obama threatens the simplicity of their narrative by using big words.

Katie Couric, You are not now and you never will be Tim Russert. If you love America, please take a page from Helen Thomas and ask real questions of the right people.