I want to make clear that I have nothing against Katie Couric at all. She’s a very nice person and I have a lot of friends at CBS News. However, it was clear at the time and I think it has become even clearer that the 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. And I just don't think that people at 6:30, or seven o’clock at night or even 5:30 in the central time zone , six o’clock when it’s seen, that that is what they want.... [T]he belief runs strong in the corporate towers of almost every news organization, print or over the airwaves these days, that if you go to celebrities, uh, it increases your audience.I don't like the dumbing down of the news, but I see two important feminist issues:
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. We don't even call the evening news a "show," do we? It's not a show, it's a program!
If Rather is so concerned about seriousness, why doesn't he see the serious undertones of sexism in his remarks? And, hint to Dan Rather: Saying she's "a very nice person" is not going to immunize you from this suspicion.
UPDATE: Les Moonves picks up the Rather-is-sexist meme.