Network news: it's the story that just keeps giving. Today the Times takes a long look at the increased level of network news competition in anticipation of Katie Couric's splashy-yet-deliberately-unsplashy debut as the anchor of the CBS evening news. NBC is hanging gargantuan banners of Brian Williams outside of the CBS studio (a technique taken straight from the New York Post) while Williams blathers on about the "anchor-viewer relationship"; ABC's Charlie Gibson is being marketed as "Your Trusted Source," which hearkens back to the late Peter Jennings, whose slogan was "Trust is Earned." Blah trust blah blah trust blah.
Honestly, even if the evening newscasts were watched by people without colostomy bags, why is this all about viewer "trust" and "trusting" our "trusted" network anchors? It's not like anyone's giving Charlie Gibson the keys to their apartment or asking Brian Williams to breastfeed their newborn baby. Who cares if Katie Couric looks like she'd stab you in the back with her stiletto? Hell, we choose our newscasts based on set design (NB to GMA: the rust tones have got to go). "Trust" really doesn't matter when we're talking about the person who reads what the producers put on the teleprompter. In the end, all people want in an anchor is "not Nancy Grace."