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Caitlin Flanagan on Katie Couric, Morning TV, and Why News is Doomed

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In the January Atlantic, Caitlin Flanagan explains the allure of the Today show,

When it is on, the television screen is no longer a barrier separating real life from TV land; the television screen is a window into another room of the house, the one where the grown-ups are.

in a piece about Katie Couric. She writes of the old Katie:

sporting a Dorothy Hamill wedge, the tonsorial equivalent of a vow of chastity

and the new:

It was as though she’d gone backward through the familiar process that had taken Diane Sawyer, her rival, from pageant queen to journalist.

She’s reviewing Edward Klein’s “tell-all and then some” biography of Couric, and she’s not amused. But Flanagan’s real point here is how little television executives understood about their audience. Morning TV is a busy mom’s boon companion; nightly news is a nag, tugging at your sleeve while you’re trying to make dinner and keep the kids from killing each other. Couric’s job isn’t a milestone, it’s a millstone:

She spent her time gunning for a position that had been drained of its status and importance long before she got there.

Yesterday was Couric’s birthday, too.

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