Katie Couric discussed her career across three network news organizations -- special correspondent for ABC News, former anchor of the CBS Evening News, and former Today show host on NBC -- in an interview at the Washington Ideas Forum that focused on her most famous recent interview with Sarah Palin.
Katie Couric said her famous question to Palin, "What newspapers do you read?" was spontaneous and suggested that it was supposed to be for "B-roll" voice over. She expressed shock that Palin answered the question by saying "all of them" and refused to be more specific, a moment that made the vice presidential candidate appear anti-intellectual.
"She was so annoyed with me at the time," Couric said. "She just wanted me to be gone." Palin hadn't done much press at the time, Couric reminded the Newseum audience, and said that the Couric interview was Palin's third after speaking with Charlie Gibson and Sean Hannity.
"She has such strong political views. Her ideology is so specific. I wanted to know what did she read on a regular basis. I was curious. She later said, during the interview, 'People in Alaska read.' I was quite aware that people in Alaska read. I, to this day, don't understand why she didn't answer that question straight on. She was done with me at that point."
The personal criticism of her stint at CBS Evening News was "at times very difficult," Couric said. "It was hard to [understand] where it was coming from. I think women are, let's face it, held to a different standard in this country. They're more fun to dissect visually. I focused on the news instead of the noise."
Couric called the CBS Evening News "a bit of a confining genre" saying she didn't think it gave her the format she need to show off her varied interests. "People thought I had a lobotomy when I did the Evening News," she said, "I am a serious person. But I'm a little more multidimensional."