Ashleigh Banfield wants Katie Couric to “correct the record” on her father.
In a blistering but poignant response to Couric’s upcoming memoir — which takes aim at Martha Stewart, Prince Harry, Deborah Norville and Banfield, the NewsNation host said she was “stunned” by what the former “Today” show host wrote, especially about her “senile” father.
In her “Going There,” out October 26 but already leaking everywhere with a vengeance, Couric admitted she was reluctant to mentor Banfield, who was a rising MSNBC talent at the time.
“For a minute there, Ashleigh Banfield was the next big thing,” Couric, 64, revealed in one passage first obtained by the Daily Mail. “I’d heard her father was telling anyone who’d listen that she was going to replace me. In that environment mentorship sometimes feels like self sabotage.”
In a Wednesday night monologue on “Banfield” the 53-year-old Canadian journalist blasted the story.
“I want to correct the record here because you went after my Dad,” she said.
“Um, it’s just not true. When I was in Afghanistan. there were a lot of reports about it being a very dangerous assignment.” She revealed that “a New York Post reporter” found the number for her father who was “near 80 and extremely senile and living in a care home.”
“They got his landline and called, and said, ‘Are you afraid for your daughter?’ to which he said, ‘Yes. And I think NBC should bring her home and give her a desk job like Katie’s.’ That is a far cry from being able to even leave the facility, let alone tell anyone who would listen. So that hurts my feelings deeply, and I hope Miss Couric corrects the record on that.”
Furthermore, she took issue with Couric’s view of female mentorship, saying she once idolized her. Banfield, who said she was a “peon” when she and Couric were colleagues, recalled an interview the morning newswoman did with Columbine High School victims, and it made her “collapse in my closet crying.”
“I remember thinking I wanted to be just like her. There’s so much I learned from Katie Couric. And I will be honest with you, it saddens me that we couldn’t collaborate. I think of mentoring women in business as one of the best investments.”
She signed off calling Couric “a trailblazer,” saying it took “guts to be spunky,” adding, “I wish her really well in life.”
When reached by The Post for comment, a spokesperson for Little, Brown and Company said: “We’re excited for people to read Katie’s book, which is heartfelt, hilarious and very honest. Readers will get the complete story from Katie herself about her incredible life and career.”