Kathleen Parker

That is, Couric and others who decide what Americans should know are out of touch with real (preferable to "ordinary") Americans - the ones trying to raise families with familiar values, who volunteer to serve in the military, and who believe that the media are working against the country's best interests.

If you only talk to others like you, which is the case for many journalists inside the media centers of New York and Washington, you begin to think that everyone thinks - or should think - as you do. The joke in the green room, where talking heads gather before the food fight, is the guy who says, "I've been out there! I've got the pulse (of Ordinary America)."

Which means he flew to Topeka that morning, parked himself at the counter of the Roadkill Cafe during lunchtime, interviewed a few locals, and flew back to D.C. in time for "Scarborough Country."

Couric's tour has the same feel. The girl has pizzazz enough to bottle and sell on eBay and the kind of charisma that will get her through red and blue America with Clintonian (Bill's) effect. But what she'll learn along the way shouldn't come as a surprise.

Most Americans want one thing with their evening newscast - news.

The old-fashioned kind that offers depth and context without spin. Straight reporting without commentary, implicit or otherwise. News that respects viewers' intelligence and allows them to draw their own conclusions.

With all the talk shows and galaxies of opinionators orbiting the blogosphere, the world is not starved for commentary. What's most critical to the mix - indeed what drives the rest - comes down to three words: reporting, reporting, reporting.

All Couric has to do to set herself apart from the pack is dig deep and tell it like it is. The rest is opinion. And, as Couric once so vividly reminded us, opinions are like colons. Everybody's got one.

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
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