I’ll confess that my jaw dropped open this morning when the gang on Morning Joe actually mentioned the #GunGate scandal surrounding Katie Couric and her deceptively edited “documentary” pushing gun control legislation. I’d assumed by this point that the cable news networks weren’t going to touch the scandal, particularly after Jake Tapper told us on Twitter that it wasn’t the sort of story he generally covers. (Though he did tweet the news of Couric’s insufficient “apology” after it blew up.) But this story is apparently far from over at Yahoo News, where the NY Post reports that the management was caught off guard by the backlash against Couric and is fretting over what their next move should be.
News industry veterans are sniping that Yahoo was caught seriously off-guard by Katie Couric’s dodgy editing scandal.
Company insiders reveal that an emergency meeting of senior executives was rapidly convened after it emerged that eight seconds of silence had been added to an interview in her documentary, “Under the Gun” — which she made outside of her Yahoo role — making it seem as if anti-gun-control activists were stumped by a question.
But Yahoo didn’t launch a formal investigation into why their “global anchor” ended up having to publicly apologize for the misleading footage.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer reportedly “expressed support” for Couric on a recent conference call, but the word on the street is that her hands are tied for the most part. They’ve invested heavily in landing Katie as their “global news anchor” to lend their news network the sort of credibility they desire. Dumping her now may not be completely out of the question, but it’s problematic no matter how it’s handled.
At the same time, Yahoo has a lot of fires to put out. Fortune was reporting just this weekend that Couric might be on the way out and those rumors had been circulating even before #GunGate hit the news.
Couric, who joined Yahoo News as its global anchor more than two years ago, is reportedly looking to move on as the company’s core web assets are being shopped around to unconfirmed buyers. That’s according to the New York Post, citing anonymous sources who claim that the TV host is already “thinking about her next act” and has skipped some major events lately, including last week’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner as well as Yahoo’s NewFront presentation, the company’s annual pitch to advertisers.
If that was already a topic of discussion in the boardroom, Marissa Mayer may find herself with a silver lining to this particularly ugly, dark cloud. If she wants to maintain the credibility of her news organization and they were already facing the possibility of losing Couric, why not take a principled stand and dump her before she can quit, citing the need to maintain journalistic standards as the reason? That gives Yahoo the moral high ground to move forward and rids them of a very expensive asset which has now been exposed as being biased and flawed.
If they do, they’ll have more than a little support from the public. Ammoland was the site which first broke the news of the sketchy “documentary” and how it was edited, and they wound up starting a petition drive in support of firing Couric. It resulted in the gathering of enough signatures to exceed their goal by 688%. Are you listening, Marissa Mayer? Opportunity is knocking and you might want to answer the door.