Before we look at exactly how CBS News came to what alcoholics refer to as "rock-bottom" (shorthand for waking up in bed with your niece), lets look at a brief timeline:Edward R. Murrow (1951-1960)
Gritty, serious and principled, Edward R. Murrow is credited with being the forefather of television news and singlehandedly establishing CBS as the undisputed leader in the genre. Perhaps best known for taking on Senator Joseph McCarthy, Murrow was immortalized in last year's Oscar-winning Good Night and Good Luck
. Walter Cronkite (1962-1981)
Known as "America's Newsman," Cronkite's most iconic moment came when he broke into tears while reporting JFK's assassination.
Dan Rather (1982-2005)
Pictured at left shortly after assassinating JFK, Rather inherited the chair based on the long-standing rule that anyone who could make Walter Cronkite cry on-air got his job.Big Gums McPerky (2006- Impending Apocalypse)The Rather Era
Notice anything about the above timeline? Maybe a slight dip in the old credibility curve somewhere after Walter Cronkite and before Bat-Shit McCrazytrain? Anyone surprised by the amazing executive-level brain-queef it took to name Katie Couric a network news anchor last week wasn't paying attention to the large-scale anal fisting that was the Rather era.
To use one of his down-home Texas colloquialisms, Dan Rather screwed the pooch more times than our retarded cousin Larry that time he got locked in Petco over Columbus Day weekend. A short list of Rather's highlights:
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"¢ Deciding, without warning, to sign off newscasts with the word "courage," (click to watch)
a gesture that would have been hilarious were it not so terrifying.
"¢ Coming in dead-last in the ratings every night for all 24 years of his tenure.
"¢ Using weird Texas sayings that made him sound like Mayor West from Family Guy.
"¢ Claiming to have been beaten up by two anonymous men to the chant of "What' the frequency, Kenneth?" which would sound made up had it not also been witnessed by Rather' imaginary friend, Dr. Frankenberry.
"¢ Conducting less fact-checking on the most important story of his career than his six-year-old grandson did on a two-page report entitled, "Whales are Cool."
"¢ Taking a dump on the anchor desk during a live broadcast, setting said dump on fire and then ejaculating all over the camera.
(OK, maybe that last one isn't definitely true, but it sounds like it could be.)
The Couric Era
As the name implies, an anchor is supposed to be a substantive presence, the gravitational center of the given Network' news universe. While Rather dragged more than he anchored, by giving his job to Couric, CBS has veered wildly in the other direction, offering the position to the news journalism equivalent of a weather balloon.
Actually, there' some rather shrewd logic at work here. The age of CBS News' median viewer is an over-ripe (by TV advertising standards) 60 years old. Or, as Les Moonves stated in more diplomatic terms, "We've got to move forward or else the people watching our evening news are going to be dead, and there's going to be nobody there to replace them." Wow Les, glad to hear you connect on such a personal level with your audience.
For her part, Couric recently announced, "The era of the robo-anchor is over," before squatting to urinate on Peter Jennings' head stone. While it' unclear whether the referencing of robots is a tactic Couric will regularly employ to frighten away the elderly and attract the hip techno-youth demographic she learned to lust after at Today, we recently intercepted a couple of the ideas being spitballed over at CBS for their upcoming news program: Katie Couric' XTREME MEGA-HAPPY FUN 4U NEWZ HOUR!
"¢ Taking a cue from sporting event jumbo-trons, CBS news viewers will be able to guess the latest casualty figures from Iraq. Guess correctly online and you'll win a free Extra Value Meal!
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"¢ War reports will be filed from correspondents Brookes and Dunn, who will be rocking the latest headlines"¦ Live from Times Square!
"¢ Rather than the traditional over-the-shoulder news graphics, story headlines will be held up on poster board by fans outside the news window.
"¢ All reports on the economy will somehow imply that Meredith Vieira is a bull-dyke and Matt Lauer a pedophile.
"¢ Coming with Katie from daytime TV, Montell Jordan will be filing consumer reports entitled, "Women be Shopping."
"¢ To ensure the continued interest of her core Today Show audience of women between the ages 25 and 54, Couric put it in her contract that a photogenic blond girl be kidnapped at least once a week-- by Moonves himself if necessary.
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"¢ Weekly reports on things the kids are into, like Rubik's Cubes, Break Dancing and fruit roll-ups.
"¢ To replace sexual tension with Matt Lauer, Couric will make veiled threats/come-ons to Morley Safer and Mike Wallace every three to four minutes.
"¢ In order to bring Ann Curry's level of reporting to CBS, Couric will have a koala bear perform Curry's duties on the evening news, namely, mispronouncing commonplace words and eye-fucking smart people.
"¢ To restore dignity to the CBS news desk, Couric' nightly sign off will be a string of forced giggles, awkward eye contact with the camera and her new signature line, "Toodles, Ameeeeeerica! Hee hee!"
"¢ Weekly colonoscopies, followed by cooking segments of not-too-spicy food.
"¢ The CBS eye logo will be redesigned so that it's in the shape of a heart.
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