Most people write a memoir to settle scores, make a buck, burnish their legacy. Not Couric. In her cattily-titled “Going There,” she decides to show that the rumors were true all along: Couric was out of her depth in network news, not nearly as smart as she’d have us think, and her bubbly girl-next-door act was just that.
Couric makes it clear from the start that she has never been an ally to other women.
Aside from the female colleagues she disparages, name-calls, alienates and humiliates — I’ll get to those in a moment — she would have us believe, in her great delusion, that she was a superstar journalist and intellectual who nevertheless had no idea about Harvey Weinstein.
Never heard a thing, she writes.
On Roger Ailes: “Who knew he was a monster?”
Of that time she went to dinner at Jeffrey Epstein’s house: “Let me explain,” she writes, before not explaining and brushing it off as a weird event, nothing more.
Also, she had no idea Matt Lauer was a sexual predator. When those stories began breaking in the fall of 2017, she writes, “I knew Matt loved beautiful women . . . he could charm the pants (as it were) off any celebrity.”
How could she choose these words?
At another point, she actually describes making him “a pretty sexy” job offer. If only he had taken it, Couric writes, “Matt could have avoided the whole thing.”
But just to be clear, Couric insists she only “knew he was a player.”
That’s hard to believe. Especially as her office was right next to his.
In these same pages, Couric recounts her routine at Lauer’s Friars Roast, all the way back in 2008, running down a Letterman-esque Top 10 list.
“Number ten,” Couric said. “According to his wife, he’s not really an early riser, if you know what I mean. Number two: He loves to eat curry.”
This was a reference to “Today” show co-host Ann Curry, who Couric belittles and who Lauer reportedly bullied off the show. Curry was in the audience, and Couric recalls how stricken she looked by that line.
“What?” Couric said, feigning ignorance. She meant the Indian food!
Then, Couric writes, Lauer took the podium and said, “It’s fun to look over and see Ann Curry laughing — like she doesn’t know how big my dick is.”
Couric’s not sorry about that. If anything, she feels jealous when she later hears that a young female staffer, who had been sexually harassed by Lauer, tearfully confided in Curry — who immediately reported that complaint.
Ever self-absorbed, Couric wonders not how many other victims are out there but “why no one had ever come to me.”
Couric reveals more about herself than she seems to realize: Namely, that she is the kind of terrible woman who hates most other women and likes only those she considers inferior, not as successful, no threat in the looks department. It’s the kind of self-loathing that allows her to defend monsters like Matt Lauer and blame all the pretty young things for bringing this on themselves.
“Why didn’t these women just tell Matt to take a hike?” she writes, long after we’ve heard about the rape allegations. She goes on to congratulate herself for being the kind of strong woman many others just are not.
She’s a rare breed, that Katie Couric.
“I realized,” she writes, “not everyone is built for that kind of confrontation.”
What Couric’s really saying here is that she’s the kind of Cool Girl immortalized in “Gone Girl.” She can hang with the big boys. They don’t scare her, and they sure don’t come on to her because she just doesn’t send out that vibe.
You happen to get groped or grabbed or raped — hey, that’s your fault.
And she still doesn’t understand why junior female staffers didn’t trust her.
Katie Couric is the worst kind of hypocrite. She uses this book to posit herself as some kind of feminist trailblazer with a substantive legacy in news, when in truth she’s a vindictive backstabber who hides behind that irritating smile, who blames others for her downward trajectory — from “Today” to her disastrous short tenure at “CBS Evening News” to a poorly-executed talk show to Yahoo! to Instagram Stories or whatever she’s doing now.
It all begs the question: Why did she write this book? Is it a money grab? Couric clearly wants to cement her own legacy, but she doesn’t get how terribly she comes across. There is zero self-awareness here, personally or professionally.
She embraces her instant fame without examining its dangers or falsities. “In virtually every room I entered . . . they were all atwitter just to meet me.”
On her supportive first husband Jay’s minor success as an on-air legal analyst, Couric says she found herself silently admonishing him to “stay in your lane.”
She is jealous of Diane Sawyer, who is “everything I wasn’t — tall, blonde, with a creamy complexion . . . her voice ‘full of money,’” her resumé top-flight, Couric now a widow with Sawyer “in a high-wattage marriage,” comportment always “sleek and sophisticated.”
Yet when Sawyer lands an exclusive Couric wanted — not a head of state or A-list star but a 57-year-old woman who had just given birth — Couric is incensed.
“I wonder who she had to blow to get that,” Couric says to her colleagues.
That’s the kind of humor all the boys love. Cool Girl.
Couric iced out Ashleigh Banfield, threatened by her designation as an “up-and-comer”; she mocked Martha Stewart at a high-profile gala event for being too perfect and so good at everything — which tells you where Couric’s Achilles’ heel is. Every new female hire, Couric writes, stoked her “All About Eve” obsession.
Katie Couric is that relic: The guy’s-gal, the woman who can’t really be friends with other women because they’re all just jealous and out to get her.
No wonder she defends Matt Lauer. No wonder she minimizes the horrific report of a rape he allegedly committed in his office, one that left the woman unconscious, an ambulance called to 30 Rock and the woman taken to the hospital.
In Couric’s version, Lauer “pulled down the producer’s pants, bent her over a chair and had sex with her. Then she passed out.”
As will happen — am I right?
The only breaking news here is that Matt Lauer is still embraced in the Hamptons by all the male media bigwigs who matter.
“Even though I had read about all the awful things Matt had done, I was worried about him,” Couric writes. She replicates text exchanges in which she tells Lauer “I am crushed” — for him!
“I love you and care about you deeply,” she texts him. “I am here.”
That she did this and felt this way is one thing. Actually, she still kind of feels this way, because she writes of how deeply she misses him.
But why put it down in black and white, in the pages of your memoir, four years into #MeToo? I can only come up with one explanation: Katie Couric just isn’t that bright.
Truly, her memoir shows a distinct lack of intellectual heft or critical or original thinking. Couric takes her life lessons from “Sex and the City.” Her heroine is Audrey Hepburn — lovely person, but you’d think a high-profile journalist might go deeper.
The woman made famous for asking Sarah Palin what newspapers she reads shares nothing here of her own reading or deep-dive investigative journalism. The major stories she covered — the first Gulf War, Columbine, Sept. 11 — exist here as mere backdrops to whatever was going on in her personal life. Her tone is breezy and gossipy, the tone and tenor off.
Cronkite’s “A Reporter’s Life,” this is not.
Instead, Katie Couric has come to disparage modern feminism and many of our recent, hard-won gains. All these women now crying rape or assault or harassment — really, she asks, what were these successful, wealthy, Ivy League educated and often married men to do?
Men who, back in the archaic 1990s, Couric writes, “suddenly found themselves surrounded by exceptional young women seeking mentors, looking to impress and rise through the ranks and even compete with their male counterparts” and so “couldn’t help themselves from coming on to their new colleagues.”
It’s not like there wasn’t a raging presidential sex scandal that fueled debate over sexual abuses in the workplace or anything.
Couric writes that so many of these young women had only themselves to blame.
“Some leveraged the situation,” she writes, “accommodating a supervisor’s desires for the sake of their careers.”
This is ugly, misogynistic stuff.
Women outnumber men as consumers and readers of books by a significant margin. So I say to my fellow women something I never thought I ever would:
Don’t buy this book. The juicy stuff is already out there.
Don’t put money in Katie Couric’s pocket. Don’t legitimize this disgusting pile-on of victims, this cynical and gross defense of abusers.
Couric is a fake, a phony, and a fraud who has already made millions playing nice.
“People feel like they know you,” she writes. “They assess you, analyze you, project on to you. They develop strong feelings about who they think you are . . . [Viewers] felt like they knew me. And in so many ways, they did.”
Francis is a sports enthusiast who loves indulging in occasional baseball matches. He is a passionate journalist who flaunts a perfect hold over the English language. He currently caters his skills for the MLB & NBA section of Sports Grind Entertainment.