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Couric Under Fire

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 30, 2006

Back in July, Katie Couric tried to demonstrate her seriousness in front of reporters by wearing pants -- a distinct difference for someone who was so leggy on the ''Today'' show. In doing so, she probably encouraged viewers -- like me -- to study her wardrobe even more when she makes her debut on ''The CBS Evening News'' next week.

Now, CBS has formally taken umbrage at wardrobe-related questions, suggesting they are sexist. But the network itself has managed to make this issue even bigger -- and about more than Couric's legs -- by the distribution of a digitally altered photo meant to make Couric look thinner. (You can see the photos and some of the heat around them here).

So many hot buttons pushed here.

Couric is hardly hefty to begin with, so to suggest that she needed to be thinner to appeal to viewers is off-putting to (a) anyone who believes people should be judged on their work, not their looks, (b) people who suspect Couric's regular-woman televising style is belied by a fashion-conscious, upper-class life, (c) women who worry constantly about their weight and looks because they are not Katie Couric, photoshopped or unphotoshopped, (d) anyone who has seen a woman struggle with an eating disorder because of an extreme case of (c), (e) the people who love the women in (c) and (d), and (e) well, just about everyone else.

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