Moonves blames sexism for Couric’s ratings

Not only is it weak, lame and tired…it’s not even imaginative!

Leslie Moonves, CBS chief executive, on Tuesday suggested that sexist attitudes were partly to blame for the faltering performance of Katie Couric, the news anchor he recruited to the network with a $15m annual pay package.

“I’m sort of surprised by the vitriol against her. The number of people who don’t want news from a woman was startling,” Mr Moonves said of the audience’s reaction to Ms Couric, who this month brought ratings for the CBS Evening News to a 20-year low.

Moonves is late to the party
– we already got the if you’re not watching Katie it’s because you’ve got a problem lecture from CBS News Senior VP Linda Mason who said last month:

“I’m just surprised at how, almost 30 years after I worked on the “Evening News” as the first woman producer, that Katie is having such a tough time being accepted by the public, which seems to prefer the news from white guys…”

In response to that I wrote:

Perhaps it is time to change the narrative. Women are no longer oppressed, and we’re long past the time when one could giddily announce “women have arrived!” Now, women are simply people in jobs, subject to the same standards, expectations and scrutinies as any man, and just as apt to fail. Supposedly, that’s what feminists wanted.

We do women in general no favors, at this point, by continuing an “affirmative action” mindset that says, “aw, she’s a woman, and it’s a man’s world, so she gets extra forbearance.” That’s nonsense. Once you’ve reached a pinnacle, you can’t keep whining that you’re only teetering because you’re a woman. You’re teetering because the pinnacle is slim, sharp and lonely, and you can only remain there if you belong there, or if you have one hell of a safety belt supporting you. Those that belong there make the pinnacle look easy, the rest impale themselves or fall. Or they loll about in the safety belt, and stagnate.

CBS Public Eye’s Brian Montopoli is covering the fracas between Moonves and Dan Rather over Rather’s Katie-remarks. Rather is right, Moonves is wrong. Blaming the viewers and calling them “sexist” is not the way to handle an error. And props to Montopoli and Public Eye for writing brave (and even-handedly and well) on one of CBS’ own websites.

Ed Morrissey has more.

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About Elizabeth Scalia