In the most recent ratings, Katie Couric’s CBS Evening News “had its worst performance since the Nielsen company installed its ‘people meter’ ratings system 20 years ago.”
Last night on The O’Reilly Factor, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly blamed CBS’s ratings on the fact that Couric is a woman. “I think it’s a woman thing,” O’Reilly said. “It’s an authority position. Most middle Americans who watch news feel comfortable with men in that position. That’s what’s going on.”
His guests, Kirsten Powers and Michelle Malkin, quickly disputed that statement. When Powers asked O’Reilly for proof, he simply stated, “I can prove it. Connie Chung, Barbara Walters, and now Katie Couric. It’s a woman’s thing.” Watch it:
Even CBS News president Sean McManus has tried to dismiss — without evidence — his network’s ratings by blaming women, instead of Couric or his station’s programming: “There is a percentage of people out there that probably prefers not to get their news from a woman.”
A recent Gallup poll found that Couric’s personal popularity lags behind NBC anchor Brian Williams and ABC anchor Charles Gibson. But that poll surveyed responses to Couric specifically, not to women anchors in general. Neither Connie Chung nor Barbara Walters were solo network news anchors.
Americans may not like Katie Couric, but that doesn’t mean they dislike all women in “authority” positions.
O’REILLY: How do you see it?
POWERS: When she came in they changed the format and they made it more like a morning news show. And it was a bad idea. And they made a mistake.
O’REILLY: All right. So they corrected that now, and she’s still getting hammered.
POWERS: She came in. It was already the lowest of the three.
O’REILLY: She is doing worse.
POWERS: I know, Bill. But the point is she didn’t inherit some really successful show.
O’REILLY: Is this a woman’s thing?
POWERS: I don’t think…
O’REILLY: Do you think a woman is going to be accepted in that role?
POWERS: I think it’s a Katie Couric thing. I don’t think it’s woman thing. I think that we have to see whether or not…
O’REILLY: I think it’s a woman thing.
POWERS: … she can — how can you prove that?
O’REILLY: Excellent question, Powers. I can prove it. Connie Chung, Barbara Walters, and now Katie Couric. It’s a woman’s thing.
Michelle, you’ve got 30 seconds. It’s an authority position. Most middle Americans who watch news feel comfortable with men in that position. That’s what’s going on. Go ahead.
MALKIN: I think it’s an information revolution thing. I think that how we get information has changed. And evening news in a 24/7 Internet age has become totally irrelevant.
O’REILLY: But she’s doing worse than the rest.
MALKIN: Because she’s a total fake and there’s nothing there.
O’REILLY: Michelle not going out to lunch with Katie any time soon.
Ladies, thanks very much.