Stephen, you’re certainly right that Gibson’s age is a plus, but so is his experience. He was a longtime Capitol Hill correspondent for ABC before getting the morning gig. Katie Couric spent two years as a deputy Pentagon reporter before being handed the Today baton. That gig played like an unsuccessful gravitas transplant. Her newscast is flailing in third place, and a major reason is that she still carries the Fluffy Katie tics, citing her daughters as important public policy experts and asking Condi Rice her daughter’s line “Who made us the boss of them?”
Network anchors are a little like presidential contenders. Viewers try to decide if they can abide you for years at a time as an authority figure. Katie Couric is never going to earn an A as an authority figure. It’s not a chick thing: if CBS had wanted to anoint a polished, professional grande dame with authority (and liberal bias, of course), they would have picked Judy Woodruff, not the Princess of Perk.
The Shister piece is fascinating because it almost reads like an Alberto Gonzales story: Couric is plagued by office insiders who think she’s a hopeless failure, and when will she smell the coffee and just resign? The Phil Rosenthal piece then, makes Katie look like Dubya in the Bunker. The media loves to mock the idea of Bush forging ahead no matter what the nattering media nabobs say. So listen to Couric: “I think it’s important to not be too consumed by this small community of TV writers and people in the business, which doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of the public at large.”