Katie Couric: Tarting up the news?

Dan Rather thinks so. Plus, shaking the missing white girl syndrome.

Topics: Broadsheet, Katie Couric, Love and Sex,

Dan Rather calls Katie Couric a dumbed-down tart. At least, that’s the favored interpretation of the former CBS anchor’s comments yesterday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Rather said Couric — his successor, by the way — is nice and all, but it was a mistake “to try to bring the ‘Today’ ethos to the evening news and to dumb it down, tart it up, in hopes of attracting a younger audience.” CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves has already called the comment “sexist.” Sadly, Nerve’s Scanner reports: “Couric could not be reached for comment, as she was too busy putting on her fishnets and stilettos for tonight’s broadcast.”

What an unusually sensible idea. Instead of tossing child prostitutes into prison, why not place them in “safe houses”? That’s the goal behind the Safe Harbor for Exploited Youth Act, which has already made its way through the New York State Assembly. As the act’s name implies, it considers child sex workers to be victims rather than criminals. It would also give U.S.-born child sex workers the same protection already granted to foreign-born child prostitutes. (For more on the legal difference between child sex workers and victims of sex trafficking, check out <a href="our write-up a few months back.)

Missing white girl syndrome. Yesterday, John Ridley tackled the ridiculously disproportionate amount of ink spilled over “pretty white girls in jeopardy,” compared with missing “black or Latino or poor or what could be considered unattractive” women. Today, Rachel Sklar responds with a blog post titled “Missing White Women: They Matter.” Sklar’s concern is that while fighting disproportionate coverage, we don’t “dismiss these missing girls as unimportant wastes of time and ink and airwaves.”

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How to succeed in business without whining about sexual harassment. This rundown of career tips rankled a reader, particularly tip No. 3, which contends: “If you report sexual harassment it’ll probably hurt your career … So unless you’re in physical danger, figure out how to make the best of a bad situation and move away from the harasser if possible.”

Tracy Clark-Flory

Tracy Clark-Flory is a staff writer at Salon. Follow @tracyclarkflory on Twitter and Facebook.

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