Katie Couric: Perky Face of Iraq's Spotty Electricity?
Iraq ministry uses unwitting anchor's face in marketing campaign
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2012 10:08 AM CDT
Then-CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric talks to reporters in this July 16, 2006 file photo.   (AP Photo/Lucas Jackson, File)

(Newser) – Iraq's electricity ministry is trying to put a happy face on its inability to provide adequate power—a very happy face. Around Baghdad, the ministry has erected billboards for its electricity news bulletin, bearing the beaming mug of Katie Couric. No, Couric doesn't have anything to do with the bulletin, and no, she had no idea her likeness was being used. "We were looking for a bright and optimistic face that inspires people to imagine a better future for electricity," a ministry spokesman tells the New York Times.

An Iraqi woman was out of the question because of cultural taboos, so they plucked an image of Couric off the Internet. "When she finds out, maybe she will file a lawsuit against us," says the spokesman. But Couric says she won't; rather, she finds the billboards "bizarre and slightly amusing." They remind her of Iraq's dire power woes, which force families to face brutal summers without fans or air conditioning. The billboards are part of a PR blitz to reassure the sweltering populace. "It doesn't give me hope about electricity," says one Iraqi, "but I like to see her beautiful face."