Katie Couric: The news needs more diversity at the top

In her most pointed comments to date about allegations of harassment at CBS, Katie Couric said the reports a...

Posted: Oct 1, 2018 11:20 AM
Updated: Oct 1, 2018 11:20 AM

In her most pointed comments to date about allegations of harassment at CBS, Katie Couric said the reports about the network's toxic, male-centric culture ring true.

CEO Leslie Moonves and "60 Minutes" executive producer Jeff Fager left the company this month after an investigation into claims of misconduct turned up numerous examples. Both men have denied allegations against them.

"The culture I found at '60 Minutes' personally was very challenging and at times quite offensive," she told CNN's Brian Stelter on "Reliable Sources" Sunday. "I think obsequious and subservience was a job requirement in order to thrive there for many women in particular."

"Sucking up to the boss?" Stelter asked.

"Pretty much, yeah," said Couric, who worked at CBS between 2006 to 2011 as a news anchor and a contributor to "60 minutes".

Couric also worked with Matt Lauer for years as a co-host on NBC's "Today." Lauer was fired by NBC last year over alleged sexual harassment. Lauer denied engaging in "coercive, aggressive or abusive actions," though he said he "fully acknowledged" he at times "acted inappropriately."

Couric said Sunday that Lauer was a "terrific professional partner with me for many years" and she was "unaware of any kind of this behavior, predatory behavior."

"It was obviously very shocking and disturbing to me and a lot of his colleagues," Couric said.

She said these highly publicized examples point to a larger problem in newsrooms, most of which are run by men.

"I think that obviously the male hierarchy has been in place [at CBS] for years, and it's time for that to end. But they're not the only network that has a male hierarchy," she said. "If you look at the news presidents at every major broadcast and cable network, they're all male."

Shortly after the interview, Couric noted to Stelter that Fox News does have a female boss, Suzanne Scott, who became CEO earlier this year. Jay Wallace is the president of Fox News.

On air, Couric continued: "All three evening news anchors are male. The vast majority of executive producers at every network are male. And this really has to end."

Couric added that "implicit bias" needs to be "understood better in media circles." She described the term as "cultural conditioning that causes us to look at people a certain way."

Couric said she has been guilty of it herself. During the presidential election 10 years ago, she said she questioned aloud whether Sarah Palin, then-Governor of Alaska and John McCain's running mate, could handle being vice president with five children.

"I would never ask that question about a male candidate," she said. "I think we have so much work to do."

Couric said movements like #MeToo should help guide newsrooms toward better parity.

"If we really believe that the tone at the top is paramount, then you have to have more diverse voices at the top because they have such an impact on the editorial choices that are made, who covers stories and how they're covered," Couric said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 662750

Reported Deaths: 12623
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion907691647
Lake48461880
Allen35897638
Hamilton32121398
St. Joseph30032513
Elkhart25403417
Vanderburgh21261379
Tippecanoe20050203
Johnson16362360
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Warrick7422151
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Wayne6640192
Grant6432157
Boone610088
Morgan6096125
Dubois5916111
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Cass545099
Marshall5427104
Henry542593
Noble509778
Jackson465067
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Lawrence4186113
Gibson401381
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Ohio53711
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 968874

Reported Deaths: 17346
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1119871212
Cuyahoga957051750
Hamilton73287974
Montgomery47254892
Summit40184957
Butler35456473
Lucas35279767
Stark29356843
Warren22381276
Lorain21994391
Mahoning19444544
Lake18379305
Clermont18346212
Delaware16437136
Licking14967200
Fairfield14506160
Trumbull14315465
Greene13568214
Medina13370219
Clark12246336
Wood11506194
Portage11008160
Allen10768235
Richland10278206
Miami10011190
Muskingum8169131
Columbiana8120183
Pickaway8041104
Tuscarawas8029236
Marion7982137
Wayne7857219
Erie6872184
Ross6130137
Geauga6057129
Hancock5981114
Ashtabula5959147
Scioto5933104
Lawrence524974
Union512352
Darke5026124
Belmont491889
Huron4797118
Jefferson4790108
Sandusky476196
Seneca4671103
Athens463733
Washington462287
Mercer4582101
Auglaize455499
Shelby440970
Knox401686
Putnam3986101
Madison392147
Ashland379195
Fulton378664
Defiance3714102
Brown369242
Crawford357496
Logan354060
Preble352671
Clinton340064
Highland327756
Ottawa323267
Williams301878
Jackson289356
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Fayette268144
Perry267744
Morrow259225
Henry245765
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Holmes2430104
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Van Wert229249
Gallia221846
Adams216032
Pike215228
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Hocking194049
Carroll180828
Paulding160023
Meigs135037
Noble128742
Monroe116436
Morgan100834
Harrison100433
Vinton76715
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