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Chris Chase

Katie Couric originally failed to ask Andre Agassi about drug use

Chris Chase
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Yesterday, we broke down Andre Agassi's interview with Katie Couric, which aired Sunday night on 60 Minutes. CBS had been promoting the interview incessantly, promising reaction from Agassi about the revelations in his autobiography "Open" about his use of crystal meth.

But, according to the New York Times, despite having worked for weeks on the Agassi story, Couric didn't ask the eight-time Grand Slam champion about his drug use during their original interview. It was only after the story broke and became the biggest news in sports that Couric and her producers thought to question Agassi about it, which they did after flying back out to Las Vegas for a follow-up.

Tim Arango writes in Monday's editions:

Katie Couric of CBS News had been working for weeks on a piece about Mr. Agassi for "60 Minutes," which was scheduled to be shown Sunday night. Ms. Couric and her producers had access to the book and had been in Las Vegas interviewing Mr. Agassi. Apparently, neither Ms. Couric nor her producers decided to ask Mr. Agassi directly about the crystal meth use, although he brought up drug use in general when discussing his depression.

But once the news broke, and the media storm ensued, Ms. Couric went back to Las Vegas on Tuesday to ask Mr. Agassi about it and his take on the public's reaction.

Decisions are a lot easier to make in retrospect, but this one shouldn't have needed to be. Even though Couric and her team interviewed Agassi before the uproar over his drug use began, it should have been completely obvious that the most newsworthy part of his book was the section about the drug use and the subsequent lying to tennis authorities about the failed drug test.

If you thought the interview was a softball before (as we did), then it becomes slo-pitch softball after this report. Not asking Agassi about the meth would be like interviewing Michael Vick and not asking him about dogfighting. The anchor of a network news program and a team of producers on the most legendary investigative news program in television history shouldn't need to wait for a story to break to know what the story is.

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