Much of the press has already made up its mind about Iraq, so Katie Couric is to be commended for filing reports (she sees real progress) that aren’t going to endear her to chic New Yorkers. Nevertheless, I want to share this take on Katie in Iraq:

 “After some b-roll showing an active marketplace and discussing that it seemed safe, Couric offered, ‘Of course, that’s what the U.S. military wants me to see, so you have to keep that in mind as well.’ That skepticism isn’t a province Couric travels very well. It sounds more like that’s the sort of thing you’re supposed to say, to suggest you and you alone are going to find out What They Aren’t Telling You.

“It falls flat. Couric’s trip to Iraq is a PR stunt aimed to gin up credentials for an anchor who isn’t taken seriously as a reporter. Creating a peaceful Iraq seems like cakewalk by comaprison. When Couric first arrived on the evening news, she was billed as someone who had wanted a change, who had wanted some challenge. Saying so, however, was an admission that her early morning hugfest wasn’t a good venue for hardhitting interviews, and the fact that she was moving on to the lead position in the evening news seemed hard to fathom. …

“Even if she’s trying really hard, her years of softlens personal interviews have instilled a tendency to emphasize the lifestyle side of a story. Witness this “behind the scenes” take as Our Katie reveals herself to be the only female in the CBS Baghdad Bureau. Really. Watch it. It’s like ‘Cribs’ if it were hosted by Matt Lauer.

“If anyone wanted to convey the message that Ms. Couric is to be taken seriously as a journalist, they may have wanted to think twice about her skipping around the Baghdad bureau pointing at all the surly producers who look less than thrilled to be on camera. Ms. Couric doesn’t shy from looking too cute, either, herself in a hoodie and flip flops (which she’s proud to kick up for the cameras, mentioning that she borrowed them from another reporter who is dressed almost exactly the same).

“When she approaches this reporter, it turns out that the reporter is British and has a certain amount of knowledge about the efforts in Iraq. But Couric’s late night chat with her British gal pal (who repeats the current wisdom on British military efforts) smacks more of a slumber party than a bunch of journalists gearing up for big news.”