OMFG Slate

Kill me:

No one has ever accused Hillary Clinton of being too perky or showing too much leg. Even so, the presidential candidate could learn a lot from Katie Couric.

Echidne covers the patronizing bullshit running rampant through that story pretty well. Here’s what I’d like to focus on:

Television news anchor and president of the United States aren’t such different jobs, after all …

Do I really have to explain this? Really? Because I’m not sure I can do it without screaming. Cover your ears and send the kids out of the room.


Look, I’ve been okay with Katie Couric, mainly because I admire somebody who could have just kicked back and phoned it in for the next twenty years actually taking a risk. But that doesn’t mean I think of her as on par with the president of the United States. No. I’m sorry, just … no.

They’re fundamentally different roles in society. A journalist’s role is to chronicle and inform, not to act. A journalist, even a talking head like Couric, tells you what’s going on in the world. That’s a valuable thing, a sacred thing, an important thing. But it’s not the same as the president’s job. Couric doesn’t hit the nuclear strike button or dial the Kremlin on the red phone or take our troops into war. She doesn’t make the laws and as far as I know, she doesn’t break them, either, and nobody ever called her out on the floor of the UN for disregarding human rights. She has the power to talk to people, but not the power to lead them. The most she can do is tell us something; the most we can do in response to her specifically is to listen.

They must be calm, personable, and handsome under lights.

ARGH. That’s what the president must appear to be to get elected, not what he or she must be in the job. Getting elected is not the president’s job. Getting elected is the candidate’s job. If you want to make comparisons between what a candidate must be and a news anchor must be, I’ll listen to that. But if you’re telling me that this is what the president needs in order to do his or her job, fuck no. Just … fuck no.

Diplomacy, intelligence, and genuine leadership abilities a plus.

THEY’RE NECESSITIES. Jesus Christ with a root beer popsicle, they’re fucking necessities in the presidency. Woodrow Wilson was a sexist asshole. Bill Clinton fucked around on his wife. George Washington, even by the standards of the day, was pretty fugly. Abraham Lincoln was not the dude you’d invite to your party to liven it up. Yet: smart guys. Leaders. Their “diplomacy, intelligence, and genuine leadership abilities” weren’t “pluses,” they were reasons they succeeded in the job. These things aren’t optional in our candidates. They aren’t like getting a spoiler on the back of your car. They’re the fucking transmission.

Ideally, an anchor serves as a kind of chief executive of his or her broadcast, prioritizing news stories on-air and leading a corps of reporters and producers behind the scenes. He or she is also the public face of a network, acting as an ambassador to advertisers, viewers, and affiliates. These people—like voters—have an instinct about who should be telling them the news of the day: what that person should look like and how his or her (which is to say, his) voice should sound.


Clinton may not opt to have an invasive medical procedure on national television, as Couric did in 2000 when she underwent a live colon cancer screening on the Today show. But the senator’s cause célèbre, reiterated in a terse Feb. 7 press release, is health care. She could shoot for a Couric-esque side effect by upping the passion quotient a little.

There is not enough desk for my head.

You know, I wrote an article for my college paper when I was 18, comparing Conan O’Brien to a gerbil. It wasn’t very funny, I don’t know why they printed it. There was enough metaphor there for a two-inch blurb with a funny cartoon, not a 20-inch story, so by the end, I was really stretching it.

This whole story reminds me of the paragraph about how funny it would be to put Conan in a giant gerbil ball and let a cat chase him around.


9 thoughts on “OMFG Slate

  1. “They must be calm, personable, and handsome under lights.” George Bush possesses none of those qualities and he got elected. So, none of those traits are required to be President.

  2. “Diplomacy, intelligence, and genuine leadership abilities a plus.” George Bush possesses none of those qualities either, so none of those traits are required of a President – only of a President who is not the worst one in living memory. Like A. said, being calm, personable, and handsome under lights is good for a candidate for the office of __________(fill in the blank). Once elected, those traits can be hung up in the closet to await the next election. The three traits I quoted really do need to be in the closet before the calm, etc. traits are even brought out of the closet to be dry cleaned.

  3. Athenae should apologize. Once upon a time she was in third grade just like Rebecca.

  4. Wow A. You are on fire today! Yea, from the outside a big pole stuck in the ground and a fire hyrdrant pretty much have the same job. They are a place for dog’s to pee and the block your way when you walk into them. Some are the same height and you can bark your shins on them.
    BUT, one of them can be used to put out deadly fires and has helped save millions of lives. They might LOOK the same on the out side, but it is what is inside and their ability to be used in a fashion that is important that makes the difference.

  5. Holy crap. And written by a woman. Move over and give me some of that desk for *my* head.

  6. I want a woman, just like the woman, who bwcame Golda Meir. If she had a hangnail half as cutesie as Katie, she would have bit it off and spit it in the eye of Idi Amin and made him wet hisself.
    Jesus, all this crap about prettyness being a presidential quality is so much blowdried noozanchor fluff.
    Integrity and smarts are all I care about. If it was really about the scent of imagined gender differences, how’d we end up with the not-so-fresh douchebag from Rancho Sphincter for the past six years?

  7. But it WOULD be funny to put Conan in a giant gerbil ball and let a cat chase him around, wouldn’t it?
    As long as it was a GIANT cat, anyway.

  8. Next, Maybe Politicians Can Design Runway Clothing!

    SALMON?!? God, just drop out of the race now, for fuck’s sake! The Katie Show: Does Couric’s rocky start at CBS spell trouble for Hillary Clinton? (by Rebecca Dana, re-mixed and mercifully shortened by your humble host) ——————————-…

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