Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rachel's Right

Miss USA Rachel Smith has incensed some people by inadvertanly dissing current CBS anchor Katie Couric.

During a recent Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network event last week in New York, when Smith was asked about her future career aspirations she expressed her desire to get into journalism. FYI for your Rachel bashers, she interned last summer in Chicago at Harpo Productions and graduated magne cum laude from Belmont College with a degree in journalism.

She's quoted by the New York Daily News as saying, "I always wanted to be a reporter — maybe some TV. Who knows? Some serious news — but some modeling, too. I just don't want to end up like Katie Couric. I want people to take me seriously."

In response, Couric's rep later told the Daily News: "If she continues to offer such profound insight, she will not have to worry about anyone taking her seriously."

For the folks who are attacking Rachel, if they took a monent to actually think about what the sistah's saying, she's right. Katie Couric is one of the reasons I gave up watching CBS News. I watched her the first week after she took over as news anchor and was sadly disappointed about the direction that the newscast took with her in the anchor chair.

CBS, the network home of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, and once was the gold standard in terms of broadcast journalism surrendered to the right wing. The network that once had the cojones to call out Joseph McCarthy during the height of the red-baiting McCarthy era, have its news anchor call Vietnam 'unwinnable' caved and fired Dan Rather when the right-wingers screamed about a 60 Minutes report that dared to ask the question that many of us had on our minds long before the 2004 election.

Where was George W. Bush during the last 18 months of his National Guard service?

I noticed that once again, most of Rachel's critics are white and are comparing her to the recent Miss Teen South Carolina who botched her question. Rachel ain't her.

In our community, Black girls are taught from birth that beauty fades. It's drilled into Black girls to rely more on their brains than a beautiful exterior and a pretty face to carry you through life.

For those who choose to model or enter beauty pageants, they are used as springboards for other careers. There's a former Miss America you may have heard of named Vanessa Williams who's conquered Hollywood, the music business and television. 1977 Miss Universe Janelle Commissiong runs a successful business in Trinidad. Before B. Smith took the culinary world by storm she was an Ebony Fashion Fair model. I doubt that anyone considers Tyra Banks a joke these days either.

Beauty queens aren't taken seriously? Just ask a former Miss Black Tennessee who's now running a media empire worth billions. What's her name again?


Mes Deaux Cents said...

"I always wanted to be a reporter — maybe some TV. Who knows? Some serious news — but some modeling, too. I just don't want to end up like Katie Couric. I want people to take me seriously."

Hi Monica,

first, I think that quote is halarious and so true. Who takes Katie Curic seriously, besides Katie? The media was a buzz with put downs about Katie Curic and how the CBS evening news had been dumbed down. So now someone is going to jump on Rachel for saying it? Obviously people just want to say something negative about her.

She is really pretty and sounds very smart and insightful, I would love to see someone like her end up at PBS doing serious news rather than at some hokey cable news channel.

Thanks for this post, I had not heard about this. Also I read your post on her after she won Ms USA. I wonder why she has not gotten more press in the African American media?

Go Rachel!

Jackie said...

I don't like CBS News and honestly other than one particular Chicago reporter that I don't like, I can't put my finger on why. CBS news lacks something and although I liked Couric ok on the morning show, she didn't make it better.
Rachel is certainly no air headed beauty, but I gotta say, I hate to see women dissing each other unnecesarily. It's a good thing to have a woman anchoring network evening news. Couric probably should have kept her morning job but Rachel IMO didn't do herself any good by dissing her. I'd hate to see networks shy away from women prime time national anchors and I'd hate to see Rachel denied a position due to fear she may disparage a fellow journalist.

Mes Deaux Cents said...


But are people giving Katie Curic a hard time because she's a woman or because the CBS evening news changed a lot after she took over.

They started doing a whole lot of fluff pieces that they were not doing when Dan Rather was there or Bob Sheifer(sp.).

Jackie said...

Mes Deaux cents,
I agree Couric has bombed big time. My concern is for Rachel as a newer journalist. Is it wise to diss a veteran and fellow female journalist. That's my point. Rachel is right not to want to be in Katie's unfortunate shoes, but she IMO could have avoided using Couric's name as the dud she doesn't want to be.

Mes Deaux Cents said...


You have a point. Newcomers have to be a bit humble until they pay their dues.

Jackie said...

Well actually gotta show professional courtesy especially to other females. In this era of you can't say ANYTHING off the record or it ends up on you tube or some jealous folks (and you know they are because she is gorgeous and brilliant) will be ready to ponce and get on her case.
Rachel has shown she is a winner and more, so whatever her goals are, I know she'll be sucessful.