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.
THEY ARE REALLY AND COMPLETELY TOTALLY DIFFERENT JOBS.
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.
I MUST HAVE MISSED THE ELECTION WHERE WE VOTED FOR KATIE COURIC AND SENT HER ALL OUR TAX MONEY SO SHE COULD PAY THE POLICE AND FIRE DEPARTMENTS.
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.