Katie Couric: "I'm Worthless Without a TelePrompter"

Fishbowl NY reports that Katie Couric has already displayed one apparently required tendency of a CBS anchor. You must genuflect and pay great homage to the CBS anchor-god named Edward R. Murrow. Her appearance at the Time 100 dinner last night went as follows:

Latecomer Katie Couric skipped cocktails and arrived at 10:00 p.m. just before accepting her inclusion on the Time 100. She prefaced her remarks by saying "I'm worthless without a TelePrompter" before toasting Edward R. Murrow as having the greatest influence on her. "We were all reminded [this year of how] he was such a journalistic giant."

It's bad enough that Couric is once again telling everyone in public she's a lightweight, but to do that based on a movie? A history-crumbling black-and-white movie by George Clooney?As a public service, let's remember what Slate.com media critic Jack Shafer wrote last fall about CBS's dashboard saint of TV news:

If Jesus Christ no longer satisfies your desire to worship a man as god, I suggest you buy a ticket for Good Night, and Good Luck, the new movie about legendary CBS News broadcaster Edward R. Murrow. Good Night, and Good Luck's Murrow burns cigarettes like altar incense. He speaks in a resonant, godly rumble. And he plods through the greatest story ever told about the hunting of communist hunter Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy like a man carrying all the world's sins.

Of course, Murrow was no god. Point of fact, he shouldn't be regarded as the patron saint of broadcast news his fans, among them Good Night, and Good Luck director George Clooney, make him out to be. But the passage of time, the self-serving testimonials from the broadcasters he recruited to CBS ("Murrow's Boys"), and the usual nostalgia for newsrooms choking on their own cigarette smoke have puffed the considerable accomplishments of a mortal and flawed newsman into modern miracles. Good Night, and Good Luck, a docudrama that pits Murrow against McCarthy, escalates the veneration to heavenly levels.

A terrific movie about the Murrow-McCarthy duel could be made, mind you, but Clooney and company ignore the material that might argue against their simple-minded thesis about Murrow, the era, and the press to produce an after-school special.

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