Thursday, January 18, 2007

Too uncoordinated to be 'jocular'

If you’ve ever seen Broadcast News, you know why on-air panache and writing chops often do not come in the same body. Katie Couric should take note.

Her Jan. 15 “blog” post about the dearth of female news anchors left me scratching my head. Describing a meeting regarding U.S. policy in Iraq between senior White House officials and prominent members of the news media, she wrote:

“I couldn’t help but notice, despite how far we’ve come, that I was still the only woman there.”

Uh, that should be, “I couldn’t help noticing,” Katie.

“Well, there was some female support staff near the door. But of the people at the table, the ‘principals’ in the meeting, I was the only one wearing a skirt. Everyone was gracious, though the jocular atmosphere was palpable.”

Okay, I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt. If she meant “jocular” as in people were making jokes, I don’t understand why she would contrast it with everyone being “gracious.” Doesn’t make sense. Perhaps she meant that everyone was being nice but she wasn’t in on “the joke,” whatever that was.

Others have speculated, though, that she used “jocular” as some sort of adjective wrenched from “jock.” If so, God help us, she should be condemned to the fifth circle of Hell, where the only reading materials are Webster’s and the AP Style Manual.

“The feminist movement that began in the 1970’s helped women make tremendous strides …”

Wha? I thought the feminist movement began in the 1800s. But what do I know? I’m just a dinky blogger from Alabama.

“That meeting was a reality check for me—and not just about Iraq. It was a reminder that all of us still have an obligation to ask: Don’t more women deserve a place at the table too?”

You deserve a place at the table only if you’re qualified and prepared, Katie – not simply because you’re filling a quota. But far be it from me to suggest that a news anchor from a major network should possess basic English skills and a knowledge of history.

Rush Limbaugh has commentary here. Ian at Hot Air opines here.

No comments: