Does Katie Couric lack the gravitas to take over the helm as host and managing editor of CBS News?
Bernard Kalb, former CBS newsie, apparently thinks so. Kalb seems positively exasperated about Couric's move from the "Today" show to the "CBS Evening News": "You know there is a jarring juxtaposition right now when you have this Edward R. Murrow [film] being shown around the country -- 'Good Night, and Good Luck' -- and the hiring of Katie Couric from the NBC 'Today' show. It is, in my mind, a clash of civilizations. Katie Couric is identified with interviewing celebrities, you don't see her being identified with the chaos of the world."
Kalb elaborated, " . . . It seems to me hiring a morning celebrity to move to CBS News -- which was once known as the Tiffany network when I worked there -- marvelous at what she does in the mornings with her interviews with celebrities, et cetera, but I'm thinking of a world in turmoil, a world in which you need a lot of firsthand experience. You had to have had your foot on the ground to have met these various people in their own environment."
Never mind that, in addition to Couric's "celebrity" interviews -- which include Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and then presidential candidate George W. Bush -- she served as assignment editor and producer for CNN, as well as general assignment reporter for NBC's Washington, D.C., affiliate.
For Kalb, however, color this insufficient: "This is a chaotic world, and people going to the nightly news want to feel confident that they're hearing the news from someone who is sensitive, who is on, more or less, a first-name basis with some of the troubles in the world. I don't see that in Katie Couric . . . "
CBS's Andy (Dan-Rather-is-"transparently-liberal") Rooney didn't exactly throw down the welcome mat. On the Don Imus show, Rooney said, "I think everybody likes Katie Couric. I mean, how could you not like Katie Couric? But I don't know anybody at CBS News who is pleased that she's coming here."