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Sarah Palin a news show 'co-host'? Rivalry with Katie Couric casts her as one.

Sarah Palin is appearing on 'Today,' pitting her against Katie Couric on 'GMA.' The ratings ploy evokes memories of the 2008 interview, but raises questions about the moniker 'co-host.'

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“It will likely give the show some ratings hype, but hosts are not supposed to be considered so partisan,” he says via e-mail. Bringing Palin on as an analyst or commentator and labeling her as such is fine, he adds, “but co-hosts of a news organization's morning show should be journalists.”

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But Palin is already known as a partisan, says Len Shyles, a communications professor at Villanova University in Philadelphia. She has been a well-known public figure for at least five years since her national run for federal office, he points out, adding via e-mail, “does that make her arguably more honest than reporters who keep their political biases secret?”

The question, says Professor Shyles, then comes back to asking why a solid news organization such as NBC, which has been in the news business for nearly a century would put its reputation at risk “by making such a poor choice in Palin?”

The answer, he says, is to challenge “Good Morning America” and former "Today" anchor Couric, who is filling in all week for "GMA" host Robin Roberts. “NBC wants to take the wind out of the competition's sails,” he points out. And since it's only a one-day event, any justified public criticism will quickly subside.

“This story has virtually nothing to do with news,” he says, adding, “rather, it has everything to do with business.” Media watchers will be looking to compare the ratings of the two programs for the match-up between Couric and Palin, he says.

Veteran news producers have little problem with Palin’s appearance. " 'Today',  'Good Morning America' and 'CBS This Morning' all do news and entertainment without any fallout,” says former ABC and CBS producer John Goodman, via e-mail. “If George Stephanopoulos, with his Democratic Party and Bill Clinton history, can host 'Good Morning America' daily, Sarah Palin can certainly temp co-host 'Today,' ” he adds. 

Former NBC London news bureau chief Karen Curry, who is now a professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, says she is not worried about this segment doing anything to embarrass NBC.

“These morning shows do all sorts of things that are not strictly news,” she says. “Now if they replace Brian Williams with Sarah Palin, then I might start to panic.” 

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