“I think when people are outwardly kind of vying for your job, it’s hard to be generous.”
Katie Couric is dealing with some of the backlash brought on by revelations in her new memoir “Going There.”
Speaking with eventual successor Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday’s “TODAY,” the former host denied sabotaging the careers of female rivals, and defended her controversial decision to edit her interview with the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In her book, Couric admits she was “less welcoming when charismatic female correspondents entered my sphere,” because there were only a few coveted spots for women in news journalism at the time, adding: “I felt like I had to protect my turf.”
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She pointed to an incident which she describes in the book, in which a CNN vice-president said to a room full of male executives, in front of the then-26-year-old, that Couric was successful because of her “hard work, determination, work ethic and breast size” — which she claims was a typical attitude at the time.
“There was a very male dominated industry, run by men, very few positions for women,” she said, which forced her to become territorial over her position — describing her own admission as “brutally honest.”
Pointing out that she has mentored “scores of women” still in the industry to this day, she said, “I think when there are very few jobs for women, and men making decisions not necessarily based on the right criteria, sometimes you do get insecure, and sometimes you do get territorial. I think it’s human nature.”
Asked if she ever tried to actively sabotage another female’s career, she replied: “Never, never, never, never.”
“I think I just wish that maybe I had extended myself more, and shown people the ropes a little bit more,” she added. “But I think when people are outwardly kind of vying for your job, it’s hard to be generous, I think.”
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With the publication of the book, Couric came under heavy fire for her admission she had omitted quotes given to her in a 2016 interview with Supreme Justice Ginsburg, which criticized the anthem kneeling protest led by NFL star Colin Kaepernick, in order to “protect her.”
On Tuesday, Couric defended her decision, but said she regretted the omission, saying she wished she’d let it run and let RBG herself clarify afterwards.
“I think what people don’t realize is, we make editorial decisions like that all the time, and I chose to talk about this and put it in the book for a discussion,” she said.
“I mentioned that it was a conundrum that I asked Justice Ginsburg about Colin Kaepernick and taking a knee and how she felt about that. And I did include the fact that she said it was dumb and disrespectful, it was stupid and arrogant and quite a bit of what she said. There was another line that I thought was — I wasn’t sure what she meant exactly, and I thought it was subject to interpretation.”
“What I wish I had done is asked a follow up to clarify, or just run it and let her clarify it later, but I think the most pertinent and direct response to the question about Colin Kaepernick I included, and that’s why I raised it because maybe I should have done the other sentence, as well.”
Pressed by Guthrie, she admitted the decision was wrong.
“Ultimately, I think I should have included it,” added. “But I also think it’s really important to look at what I did include. She had to make a statement afterwards saying her comments were harsh and dismissive.”
“I still believe I used the most critically important response, but I think you’re right, I think it would have illuminated it even more if I had included that other statement.”
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