Poll: Amer­i­cans find Couric ‘perky,’ ‘lib­eral,’ ‘bi­ased,’ ‘an­noy­ing’

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Jen­nifer Harper

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.

Ray of sun­shine? Katie Couric

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