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After two weeks of previewing their interview with Katie Couric, the women of The View finally got a chance to sit down with the Today anchor, and they didn't hold back. The co-hosts grilled Couric about her "unvarnished" tell-all memoir, "Going There," forcing their guest to play defense as she insisted her words have been "distorted, cherry-picked, twisted, and rewritten" by the media. "I talk about how the 'catfight' narrative is like catnip to the media," she said. "And then, sure enough, this is what is spun."
Whoopi Goldberg began the wide-ranging interview by joking that Couric's memoir "really has people going in circles," but the former morning show star didn't quite pick up the humor in Goldberg's statement. "I didn't think it was that provocative," she said, suggesting that her critics haven't read the book. "The good news is, it's getting a lot of attention, and people seem really interested. And the book is doing really well, and it isn't even out yet. So, there's that."
Sunny Hostin, with "Going There" splayed open on the table, noted that she did find the book "provocative," as it challenges Couric's "girl next door" persona. "One of the topics that we discussed was your admission that you viewed other women — in a very male-dominated field, and we know that, the news business — as your competition," said Hostin.
"I think if you actually read that section, which is a paragraph, I basically said that there were times when I felt territorial and insecure," said Couric. "I have to be honest. I think any woman or man in these very highly-competitive fields has felt that way in one time or another." She went on to say that when Ashleigh Banfield and Deborah Norville, both of whom have said they were hurt by the contents of the memoir, "read it in its totality, [they'll] see that I was highly complimentary."
Journalist @katiecouric discusses her headline-making new memoir 'Going There."— The View (@TheView) October 25, 2021
"I wanted it to be genuine and really reflect my point of view and my feelings about things at any given time." https://t.co/cVclFZQmjA pic.twitter.com/K3WxREFYZZ
After the commercial break, guest co-host Gretchen Carlson asked Couric what she would have done if someone came to her with allegations about Matt Lauer during their time on Today (Couric writes that she was unaware of Lauer's alleged behavior until reports surfaced). "I think I would've obviously gotten to the bottom of it," she said. "There were a lot of whispers about a lot of people, you know? It was kind of part of the ether. It wasn't in my world because I had two little girls and then ultimately a sick husband, and I kind of wanted to keep away from the rumor mills and the gossip."
"So, it was really stunning and so disappointing when all the stuff came out about Matt," continued Couric. "He was considered a really good person and a good guy, and obviously had this very dark side where he was callous and reckless and worse to some of the women with whom he worked, and who worked for him. And so, it was just crushingly disappointing."
Of course, the ladies also couldn't pass up a chance to ask Couric about her now-infamous interview with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, after which Couric omitted an answer from the Supreme Court justice about Colin Kaepernick. "As a journalist, you're supposed to be objective," said Hostin. "Your job is to report the facts, not to make someone look good."
Couric agreed, and she admitted that she handled the situation poorly. "I bring that up because I should've left that to the audience to make that decision," she said of RBG's Kaepernick response. "It's important that as journalists we be transparent and say, 'That was not a good decision.'"
"And that's the spirit of the book. People have said to me, 'You're very self-reflective and self-aware,'" she continued. "I call myself out more than anyone else in the book and question some of the choices I've made through the years. That kind of honesty is what leads to personal growth and evolution, and I'm really proud that I did that."
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Claire Spellberg Lustig is the TV Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.