You will find no criticism here of the decision to cover Lisa Nowak, the Space Shuttle astronaut and 43-year-old mother of three, accused of driving from Houston to Orlando to confront her suspected rival in love for fellow astronaut Bill Oefelien. All three networks assigned a reporter to the basically trivial story. Why not? "With a master's degree in rocket science, she is one the most accomplished women in America," ABC's Bill Weir recounted. "She was so motivated by jealousy, police say, that she skipped bathroom breaks on her 950-mile drive by wearing adult diapers, common gear in orbit." NBC's Michelle Kosinski detailed Nowak's alleged outfit, "wig and trenchcoat with a BB gun and knife." While CBS' Sharyn Alfonsi concluded of the robotic-arm specialist, "her high-flying career came crashing to the ground."
Our quibble is with CBS' decision to try to dress this up as anything more important than salacious fun. There is no way this is worthy of the lead story. And it must have been hard for anchor Katie Couric to keep a straight face as she interviewed in-house analyst Bill Harwood about the larger lessons for the space program as a whole. "Is this episode causing NASA to rethink the way it screens or evaluates astronauts?" "It is too soon to say what might come out of this."
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