Cap J: Well, Rather is right |

Cap J: Well, Rather is right

Don Rogers

Dan Rather got both barrels for calling out his old news broadcast.

He said CBS made a mistake with the newscast by aiming to “dumb it down, tart it up in hopes of attracting a younger audience.”

Oh, boy. The network execs already felt backed into a corner with all the criticism of new anchor Katie Couric, the epitome of the perky morning personality.

Gravitas still prevails with the nightly broadcast, at least for those still watching. Charles Gibson, another one-time morning guy, stepped into the lead in the evening. He’s the oldest, most serious-sounding of the network news people.

Rather has his oh-so-very-serious news show on HDTV, which hardly anyone can even see, although I’d like to. Couric grinds on with a once-proud show that has lost much more to fragmentation of mediia than anything else.

An old-fashioned genre has an old-fashioned audience, basically. A horse and buggy with shiny fenders will never be a car. CBS can’t junk up the stentorian nightly news with a “Today” feel. The difference is, ahem, night and day.

That’s probably the lesson here. With “tart,” Rather chose a word poorly. What else is new? But the point is true, and why CBS execs were so rattled.

Couric is a gimmick, and a transparent one at that. The network nightly newscast fits a niche these days. Few of us, even the news junkies, take our news that way anymore ” patiently waiting and watching through a half-hour of stuff we either already know or couldn’t care any less about.

Give CBS some credit for trying. There isn’t anything wrong with Couric herself. The whole nightly newscast thing is just stale, that’s all. It’s not as if ol’ Dan was knocking ’em dead himself.

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