Katie’s Colon & CBS’ New On-Air M.D.

The New York Observer reports that Dr. Jonathan LaPook, recently named medical reporter for the CBS Evening News (with Katie Couric), also helped arrange Katie’s on-air colonoscopy in 2000. The Observer also reports:

“Over his quarter-century in medicine, he has consulted with some of that network’s most important figures: former news division president Howard Stringer; Andrew Lack, the creator of the newsmagazine West 57th and a former senior executive producer of CBS Reports….His father-in-law is Norman Lear, the television legend and creator of CBS hits All in the Family and Maude.

In August, Dr. LaPook officially joined the payroll. Still a practicing physician and a member of the faculty at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, he is now also the medical correspondent for Ms. Couric’s CBS Evening News. That evening-news job was previously held by Elizabeth Kaledin, a practicing journalist who has covered the medical beat for the network since 1996.

Ms. Kaledin was still under contract when Dr. LaPook replaced her, and the contract will not be renewed when it expires at the end of this year, according to three network sources. …

Dr. LaPook declined an interview request because he was “seeing patients and crashing a story,??? said a CBS News spokesperson. Ms. Kaledin declined to speak at length because of the sensitivity of her position at the network.

“The thing I’d feel most comfortable saying, which is the truth, is that I am heartbroken by the loss of my job and have spent 20 years working to get to this point, only to be replaced by someone with no journalistic experience only because he’s a doctor,??? she said. “I have worked incredibly hard from the smallest markets in TV to get to this point. I have never pissed anybody off. My reporting career is unblemished. I’m well-liked. I work hard. I’ve been loyal to CBS.???

All maybe true, Elizabeth, but you didn’t help arrange the famous colonoscopy and you’re not a “popular Upper West Side gastroenterologist.” You were only, apparently, a journalist.

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