Criticizing Katie Couric is fun, easy, and always good for some red meat-feasting. I’ve done plenty of it and it’s almost always deserved. But this time I’m not going to add my voice to those haranguing her for her decision to go to Iraq. Not yet, anyway.
Conservatives frequently criticize TV personalities for not taking time to visit the troops and getting a lay of the land. Well, now Couric is going. Seems hypocritical to bash her when she didn’t go and bash her now that she’s headed over, doesn’t it?
Is she trying to boost her TV ratings? Sure. Who in tee-vee land isn’t trying to do that? Does she have a liberal agenda? Again, with few exceptions, who doesn’t have a liberal agenda in tee-vee land? Will she change her mind about the war? Probably not, but who knows? Look at Rep. Brian Baird.
Couric is coming under extra scrutiny because she is a single mom. She has two daughters, one in her teens and another a tweener. Is it reckless for her to leave her family and possibly risk her life to broadcast from Iraq? Some folks who think women have absolutely no place on the war front believe so. I don’t. I made the decision in January to embed with our troops in Baghdad for a short trip, leaving my husband and two young children (much younger than Couric’s), because I felt compelled and driven to see and experience what was happening on the ground for myself. My Hot Air colleague, Bryan Preston, who accompanied me, also left behind a young family. It was an invaluable experience for us. We were able to share unique video, photo essays, and blog reports with our audience, make contacts and friends, deepen our understanding of a complex battlespace, and express our appreciation for the troops. We would do it again in a heartbeat.
No one makes the decision to leave their family lightly. There are single moms, single dads, and married parents in the military who have to make these decisions for much, much longer periods of time and who make far, far greater sacrifices every day to protect and serve our country.
Couric will be there for a total of 10 days. I’m sure it will be derided as a “drive-by” trip, a micro-embed, etc. But there is great value in walking even a foot in non-civilian shoes. Couric will not see combat and she probably won’t have to lug around 50 pounds of gear, but she still will have to wear her own body armor, ride in a boiling C-130, and sweat like everyone else.
I don’t expect much out of her reporting. She deserves low expectations, but she doesn’t deserve derision for making the decision to go.
For now, I only have these words for Katie Couric: Good luck and Godspeed. May the journey open your eyes.
While all the rest of the media buzz about Katie, Katie, Katie, I think her trip is a golden opportunity to give a platform to all the independent journalists who are embedded and/or who have been embedded overseas doing the reporting Katie hasn’t done. Maybe she’ll run into some of them. If NBC’s Brian Williams can get a clue about Michael Yon, maybe Couric will finally notice the outstanding work that blogger embeds have been doing.
If these citizen journalists aren’t on your daily reading list, they should be: