Sunday, April 08, 2007

Couric Is On Critics’ Hot Seat For ’60 Minutes’ Interview With Edwards
By Amanda Yazdi

Katie Couric is no stranger to tragedy. Neither are John and Elizabeth Edwards. In 1999 Couric’s husband, Jay Monahan, was diagnosed with colon cancer. Nine months later, he lost his battle with the disease, leaving Couric alone to raise their two young daughters. In 1996, John and Elizabeth Edwards lost their 16 year-old son in a freak car accident. Only eight years had passed when Elizabeth was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, a disease with only a 20% survival rate over five years.

In a recent ’60 Minutes’ interview, Couric sat down with Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards after he called a press conference to announce that his wife’s incurable form of cancer had returned, but that it would not take either of them off the campaign trail. Immediately following the interview, a virtual firestorm erupted in the blog-o-sphere besieging Couric with criticism for her so-called harsh and unsympathetic line of questioning.

What viewers seem to have forgotten is that this is not infotainment, or a morning news story, or an abbreviated two-minute evening news piece with a few good sound bytes. This is ‘60 Minutes’. The questions are notoriously hard-hitting. When the senior producers of television’s most respected news magazine sat down and thought about which correspondent was right for this interview, of course they chose someone who has devoted as much time to cancer detection and prevention as has Couric. Let’s also remember that she is the highest paid and highest profile correspondent on staff, and they want to put her to work earning those big bucks, and bringing in those ratings.

Since Couric took over the reigns at CBS Evening News as the first solo female anchor, she has received nothing but criticism, from the lack of color in her wardrobe to the lack of hard news in her broadcast. It appears this is just another opportunity to criticize this woman’s work. Which begs the question, would there have been such a backlash had this interview been conducted by Mike Wallace?

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