|Brian Montopoli: You told me, a little while back, that you were "the first woman at every job I had at CBS News." And that includes in 1971, when you were the first female field producer for The CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite. I'm curious your take on Katie Couric's experience as the first solo female nightly news anchor.|
Linda Mason: 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, and now that Charlie's doing so well, from older white guys. I guess they want the reassurance of a Walter Cronkite.
I had no idea that a woman delivering the news would be a handicap. And I'm afraid that Katie's paying a price for being the first woman. But I think it's a great trail that she's blazing, and I think if the broadcast continues to be as good as it has been, if we continue to break news, if we continue to tell interesting stories, people will start to watch. It takes time, I think. But I was surprised that there was an obvious connection between a woman giving the news, and the audience wanting to watch it.
I will cut her some slack because she can't come out and say it publicly, but the problem give recent Gallup poll where her unfavorable rating is high is not the gender but the person. Katie was hyped and forced fed down peoples throats and they didn't respond to it. It does take a certain history, familiarity and gravitas to be the anchor. But it has nothing to do with gender. How about the experiment I posted a couple of months ago.
We bring over Mélissa Theuriau for a 2 week period while Katie is on vacation and see what happens. What? Its not like it can get any worse at CBS News.