Couric Studied With Anti-Palin Adviser Richard Haas Before Palin Interview
"Our Sweet Perkey Little Katie Couric Has the Cold Heart of a Viper in that Flat Little Chest !"
It’s still odd that someone would see a battle of wits between Katie Couric and Sarah Palin as a fight Couric would win. Jeff Bercovici of Portfolio.com reported in a brief item that Couric revealed in a panel discussion that she boned up with anti-Palin foreign-policy advisors before interviewing the Alaska governor. Peter Kafka of All Things Digital featured this piece of the Bercovici report:
Couric shed some light on her preparation for the interviews: Beforehand, she sought advice from former senator Sam Nunn and Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haas [actually, it’s Haass]. They told her to draw Palin out on her geopolitical worldview and urged her to let the governor speak at length without interrupting her. Maybe she should bring them along with her when she takes over at Meet the Press?
That would be a sad day for substance on Meet the Press, if it ever happened. Sam Nunn, of course, is now leading the Obama transition team on defense policy, and Haass and was probably familiar to Couric through his appearances as an analyst on NBC. Haass was a top aide to Colin Powell in the first two years of the Bush administration, and remember, Powell endorsed Obama. Haass publicly expressed Vice President Palin would be way too inexperienced for the veep job.
Kafka noted that Bercovici's story was pulled – not because it was inaccurate, but because Portfolio sponsored the panel discussion with the media investment group Quadrangle, which insisted on a no-press policy. Did Couric's camp complain? Kafka thought the no-press policy was ironic for a panel stuffed with press:
Again, it’s Quadrangle’s conference, and they can run it however they’d like. But it seems particularly ironic that the one story that did get published, then pulled, was about a panel of professional communicators: CBS (CBS) news anchor Katie Couric, NBC anchor Brian Williams and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
Maybe these top journalists only appeared with a no-press promise. On November 4, Felix Gillette of the New York Observer found that Couric declared that she’s been disappointed that a lot of interviewers have gone soft on their subjects. Does someone need to get Katie a highlight reel of her kissy-kissy interviews with Barack and especially Hillary? But on Palin, the Observer said wow, that was damaging:
"The interviews were important," said Ms. Couric. "I don’t mean to sound too self-congratulatory, because anytime a candidate does an interview, if it’s properly done, it should be revealing. Quite frankly, I’ve been disappointed by the lack of persistence I’ve seen in a lot of political interviews this season."
As part of the article's attempts to build up Katie's journalistic reputation as she keeps CBS solidly in third place, Katie’s executive producer Rick Kaplan – the informal Bill Clinton buddy and adviser – also touted how extraordinary Couric was: