STATEMENT FROM “ACCESS HOLLYWOOD”:
The comments from Katie Couric that earlier ran on AccessHollywood.com were from a previous interview on May 30th in regards to whether or not she would go to Iraq in light of injured CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier. The Web site story has since been clarified and includes more recent comments that were given by Couric in regards to the current Middle East crises at the CBS TCAs (Television Critics Association). “Access Hollywood” NEVER aired this story and regrets that the previous Web site story was misleading.
(July 19, 2006) — Mere miles from St. Tropez, where celebrities like Paris Hilton, Liam Neeson and Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock were recently spotted enjoying the sand and sun, the world has erupted into a very frightening place.
And once again, American news correspondents are braving life-threatening dangers to bring viewers and readers the story of the escalating violence in Israel’s war against Hezbollah in Lebanon.
NBC?s Martin Fletcher is in Israel, where he and his crew came within seconds of becoming war casualties.
?A rocket fell 100 yards in front of us, straight in our line of driving,? Fletcher told Access Hollywood. ?Five seconds later we would have been hit. We just saw this flash of red flame, a huge explosion.?
Reporting from Haifa, where Hezbollah rockets rain down indiscriminately, presents a danger unique to even seasoned war correspondents.
?It’s completely random,? Fletcher told us. ?Rescue workers carry victims to the train station. So, once you do this job, you accept that your fate is in someone else’s hands.?
Despite the risk, anchors and reporters continue to flood into the Middle East.
NBC?s Brian Williams and ABC?s Charles Gibson are already in the danger zone. NBC?s Ann Curry filed her first report from Beirut Wednesday.
The decision to enter a war zone remains a choice.
More than 70 journalists have died covering the Iraq War. And in January, ABC?s brand-new ?World News Tonight? co-anchor, Bob Woodruff, was seriously injured when the convoy he was riding in was hit by an explosive device in Iraq.
Risking their own safety to provide the depth of coverage needed is nothing new for network and cable news anchors.
Once called the ?most trusted figure” in American public life, according to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, Walter Cronkite spoke eloquently on opening communications with the North Vietnamese following his visit to the war-torn region.
Dan Rather reported from Baghdad, and interviewed Saddam Hussein after Iraq invaded Kuwait.
As the ?World News Tonight? anchor, Peter Jennings reported from both the Gulf War and the war in Iraq.
NBC?s Tom Brokaw, who flew around the globe as an anchor to cover breaking news, may have even faced a potential threat to his life at home.
A letter containing anthrax was sent to Brokaw as part of the 2001 anthrax attacks. Brokaw did not open the tainted letter, but two NBC News employees were infected.
The big question remains: what about Katie?
Katie Couric, who takes over CBS Evening News in September, told Access Hollywood on May 30th that she would not venture into Iraq, in response to an interview regarding injured CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier. At the time Couric was still a co-anchor of NBC’s “Today” show.
?I think the situation there (Iraq) is so dangerous, and as a single parent with two children, that’s something I won’t be doing,? Katie said.
But following growing tensions between Israel and Lebanon in recent weeks, and her stepping in as the sole anchor at CBS Evening News, she now says she would travel to the Middle East.
At the CBS TCAs on July 16th Katie said, “I think, yeah, of course I would want to be there. I think — in terms of traveling, I think it will be done on a case-by-case basis. I think sometimes correspondents who have been covering beats for months and even years often have a great handle on what’s going on in a certain global hot spot. But clearly if it’s going to serve the story, advance the story, and be helpful to the story, I would like to be there. I think it really depends on the situation and what’s happening.”
(Access Hollywood regrets that the earlier version of this story was misleading)