The Whore-ifying Impact of Media Misogyny

This post, written by Lucinda Marshall, originally appeared on the Feminist Peace Network

In an unfortunate recent interview, former CBS news anchor Dan Rather offered his take on why CBS news has taken a plunge in the ratings, opining that, "(T)he mistake was to try to bring the 'Today' ethos to the evening news and to dumb it down, tart it up in hopes of attracting a younger audience."

No mention of Charles Gibson's past on Good Morning America and of course Rather stipulates that he has the highest regard for Katie Couric. Uh huh. As columnist Ann Althouse pointedly asks,
"1. Is Rather insinuating that having a female newscaster is part of the process of "tarting up" the news? I know he doesn't precisely make that connection, but, to me, it's just glaring that the word "tart" means prostitute.
2. Why on earth does it matter what time the news is on? If something is wrong for the evening news, why isn't it just as wrong for the morning news? I think what is unstated is that only women are watching those morning shows, so the standards are lower."
It is worth remembering that when Couric was hired, there was all this hoopla about her credentials and America being ready for a woman news anchor. And now CBS' Les Moonves says that numbers show that just a few months later we're not? Oh and by the way, let's also not forget that CBS's numbers were already in the toilet when Couric took over the evening news slot.

We will probably never know if Katie Couric is a creditable news anchor because she is attempting to survive in an atmosphere where the white male powers that be in newsrooms everywhere consistently sensationalize the news, asking us to believe that Anna Nicole Smith and Paris Hilton are just as important as the Iraq war and global warming. As Jon Stewart recently pointed out on The Daily Show, CNN cut away from a story about General Peter Pace's resignation to go live to the courtroom where Ms. Hilton was getting in a car, they even went so far as to call in an expert, Tommy Chong (as in Cheech and..) to comment on the case. Not a shining example of having your priorities straight.

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