Katie Couric lashes out at Matt Lauer says a lot about #MeToo, the media and the nature of book selling

Mike Windle / Getty Images As you have surely heard before, Katie couric , an iconic figure in the now past era of mainstream media ma...


Katie Couric

Mike Windle / Getty Images

As you have surely heard before, Katie couric, an iconic figure in the now past era of mainstream media magic, has written a controversial new book, Go, about his life and his career. On Tuesday, she will do a long-awaited interview on NBC Today show, where she had by far the most successful run of her career, most alongside Matt Lauer as co-facilitator.

Just a few years ago, it would have been inconceivable for Couric to promote a (so far) ill-received memoir in which she spends many pages attacking Lauer, with whom she was so linked in public consciousness. , and to whom she was so close to the air. But when Lauer was fired in 2017 for having an inappropriate relationship with an NBC producer three years before, and then was accused of rape by the same person in Ronan Farrow’s book in 2019, Catch and kill, the whole equation of the once close relationship has radically changed.

Before providing an analysis of this situation, a disclosure and an important point of context are in order. First, in the past two years since the publication of Farrow’s book, I spoke to Matt Lauer, in person and on the phone, in excruciating detail, both as a reporter and as a friend, for probably about 100 hours, and he hosted me on a golf trip earlier this year. Secondly, I have been very critical of Katie Couric’s journalism in the past, especially her much-loved demolition of Sarah palin at the height of the 2008 presidential campaign.

My intention here is not to directly defend Lauer (I expect him to deal with that himself), but rather to give an overview of what is going on here and what it says about the way the information machine is really broken. A lot can and should be learned about what Couric says and doesn’t say about his former NBC co-host and longtime friend.

As far as Lauer is concerned, Couric goes out of his way to try to play both ways, and this garnered rather schizophrenic media coverage from subject. She calls him a “decent man” and she felt “heartless” abandoning him, all in clarifying that the allegations against him were not the man she knew. Couric even rightly points out that the ‘rules’ for intra-office sex in the media were very different before #MeToo, and seems to imply that Lauer got caught up in being drastically altered, in the midst of a moral panic, long after it has already been played.

Couric also posts, rather shockingly, a partial private text message exchange (and based on my long conversations with Lauer, substantially incomplete) between them right after his dismissal from NBC. Couric justifies this act of disloyalty saying that Lauer had betrayed her and the Today show with his sexual exploits, thus allowing, apparently, two wrongs to make a right.

Then, in an obvious attempt to appease the #MeToo movement, she tries to diminish the nature of their friendship, which is especially bizarre given that she discloses that she has moved heaven and earth to try to get Lauer to joining his daytime talk show in 2012, a program that literally started with them “sleeping” together to open the first episode. Perhaps revealing a real motive regarding Lauer, she even expresses her frustration that Lauer did not partner with her ultimately failed talk show, claiming that if he had just left NBC to come with her, it would all have could be avoided.

She also claims that she had no knowledge of what was going on in Lauer’s sex life. This actually makes sense given that the evidence indicates he had consensual extramarital affairs with consenting adults, which, while stupid / reckless, was not considered a reprehensible offense in the media prior to the move # MeToo.

She concludes that his behavior towards women was “callous”, conveniently rationalizing that she shouldn’t know the REAL Matt Lauer., and even qualifies him, without the slightest corroborating evidence, as a “predator”. It’s also important to point out that, despite what must have been a great temptation to do so given Ronan Farrow’s popularity with the media elite, she does not indicate that she believes the rape allegation in her book, which, after studying it quite thoroughlyI’m pretty confident it’s because she doesn’t think it’s true. And for a very good reason, that is why there has never been a criminal charge, or even a prosecution, filed in this or any other similar circumstance related to Lauer. Common sense would tell you that if Lauer said something wrong in his overall defense, Couric would have discovered it and would have been hailed as a hero for exhibiting it in his own book.

This is where this saga illustrates why the media is so poorly set up to deal with these kinds of allegations, especially now that the #MeToo movement has such a powerful hold on narrative. Once a celebrity the size of Lauer has been beheaded, everyone knows he becomes a wealthy target, especially when he has almost no viable ability to retaliate. For Couric, suing Lauer in order to get media attention to a book, especially one that has already opened him up to a lot of very legitimate criticism of his particular brand of liberal activism disguised as journalism (like bragging about removing very important comments from a liberal Supreme Court judge to “protect” them) is marketing evidence.

She can even use it Today show interview tomorrow to make Lauer’s review a figurative liferaft for a book launch that appears to be sinking amid largely negative media coverage. Again, not because much of the media-created narrative on Lauer is actually true, or that Couric really believes it from a distance, but because, much like the Apple TV series. The morning show (who clearly shaped the character played by Steve carell after Matt Lauer, and where I am convinced that Couric sees himself as the role played by Jennifer aniston) it’s just a sick game, and it’s just the right card for her to play.

As the father of two young daughters, the part of Matt Lauer’s destruction that has always bothered me the most is the utterly childish outlook on adult women one must have to interpret sex between a famous man and a not famous partner. -worker as an inherently predator. Men learning – as my mother kept racking my brains as a teenager – that ‘no means no’ is incredibly important, but we have forgotten that ‘yes means yes’. It is utterly unfair and even dangerous, in an effort to tip the pendulum of gender power in the other direction, to allow women to radically change the nature of consent in hindsight, especially in the light of shifting political winds.

One of the many reasons mainstream journalism has died in the modern age is that those with the most power have become very wealthy celebrities. Among the myriad of problems this has created is the fact that wealthy celebrities must protect their positions and their public popularity at all costs, which then prevents them from speaking uncomfortable truths which, especially in these days of ‘culture’. cancellation ”, can easily cost them what they want. be the most expensive.

The reality here is that, at least as far as Matt Lauer is concerned, what Katie Couric has done is based on a selfish strategy, not on the truth, or on what is right. In this way, it is only too representative of how and why modern news media are fundamentally dysfunctional.

This is an opinion piece. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Katie Couric lashes out at Matt Lauer says a lot about #MeToo, the media and the nature of book selling
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