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Katie Couric: Health Care Debate “Depresses Me”

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Katie Couric joined producer Tony Maciulis for a live facebook video chat this week. They discussed her interview with Glenn Beck, what it’s like to sit down with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, social media, and the fact that she often does the evening news barefoot.

She also shared her opinions on the health care debate and how it’s covered. “To be honest with you, the whole debate has kind of depressed me,” she said. “The idea of kind of sitting down and working things out…is a really necessary part of the political process, but it seems increasingly difficult to do that in this day and age.” She told the facebook audience, “The one thing I really don’t like are opinions without portfolio or judgments without knowledge or basic information, and I think we have a lot of that. And then there are people fanning the flames, encouraging that.”

Couric has had a busy week with the launch of @katiecouric and high profile interviews with Ahmadinejad and First Lady Michelle Obama. And, as the Columbia Journalism Review notes, she’s compensated well for it. Michael Massing says network salaries like hers are inviting a new set of questions about the news industry:

Katie Couric’s annual salary is more than the entire annual budgets of NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered combined. Couric’s salary comes to an estimated $15 million a year; NPR spends $6 million a year on its morning show and $5 million on its afternoon one. NPR has seventeen foreign bureaus (which costs it another $9.4 million a year); CBS has twelve. Few figures, I think, better capture the absurd financial structure of the network news.

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