Poll: Americans find Couric ‘perky,’ ‘liberal,’ ‘biased,’ ‘annoying’
Katie Couric assumes the anchor chair at CBS soon, potentially shading the evening news with personality-driven allure and political bias at the network, which has remained in third place behind NBC and ABC for a decade.
A poll released Aug. 24 by the Pew Research Center reveals that Americans associate qualities with Mrs. Couric not often equated with a traditional male anchor. Respondents found her to be “fluffy,” “cute,” “bubbly” and “perky” — terms absent from lists describing NBC’s Brian Williams and ABC’s Charles Gibson.
While the most frequently cited description was “good,” the second most associated word for Mrs. Couric was “liberal.” The term “biased” also appeared.
“CBS is selling her personality. That might have made her a star on a morning talk show, but the evening news is about news,” said Rich Noyes of the Media Research Center.
“Her predecessor, Dan Rather, lost the trust of his audience by showing his political bias, and the record shows that she is every bit as liberal. The question is whether she pushes that kind of agenda. No matter how cute or perky, she can still lose viewers who do not want their news skewed.”
According to the poll, “accolades for the other two broadcast news anchors were less about personality and style and more focused on job performance,” noting that Mr. Williams was summed up as “fair” and “informative” and Mr. Gibson rated “trustworthy” and “informed.” While Mrs. Couric is the most widely known of the trio, she also gets the most negative responses.
Along with all the plucky adjectives, she was also called “annoying,” “bad,” and “overrated.” Some respondents expressed a personal dislike. Only 30 percent of conservative Republicans gave Mrs. Couric a positive rating; another 30 percent were negative, 7 percent neutral and 33 percent had no answer. Among liberal Democrats, 46 percent favored Mrs. Couric, 16 percent were negative, 14 percent neutral and 24 percent had no answer.
“While all three anchors are positively regarded, Couric’s image has a personal style dimension and ideological coloring,” said Pew Research director Andrew Kohut.
The poll of 1,506 adults was conducted Aug. 9-13, with a margin of error of four percentage points.
Rumors that Mrs. Couric, 49, would leave NBC surfaced almost two years ago; the deal was finally announced April 5. The former morning hostess told viewers she would rely on her “heart and gut” to make the transition.
She replaces veteran Bob Schieffer, himself a temporary replacement for Dan Rather, who resigned in 2004.
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