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Dog-Eared: Trump as Father Figure in Katy Tur's Rough Draft

The second memoir by NBC newswoman Tur describes growing up in a most unusual family, particularly her vain, volatile, charismatic but unstable father. Bob Tur was a pioneer of on-the-spot reporting. The swaggering innovator bought his own helicopter, learned to fly it, then, with wife Marika wielding the camera and little Katy strapped in the back, hunted down news stories to peddle to Los Angeles TV stations. Remember Reginald Denny’s beatdown after the Rodney King verdict? That was Bob Tur. OJ Simpson’s slow-speed chase? Bob Tur again. Madonna’s cliffside wedding? Tur flew the chopper. In a way, he helped create today’s bloodlust news culture, in which we gawk at others’ lives and misfortunes in real time, and pile on with anonymous comments. As Tur relates, behind closed doors, Bob Tur also abused his wife and children. Eventually, he blamed his personal turmoil and violence on the fact that he was a closeted transgender woman. Katy Tur ended up chasing the news, too. As an NBC correspondent, she covered Donald Trump’s rise from unlikely political candidate to president. The author draws obvious parallels between her dad and 45: both had a powerful, overbearing, and arguably charismatic presence. Both had oversized yet fragile egos, and a stubborn narcissism that can’t abide differences or challenge.

This entertaining memoir is rich in anecdotes about the two men. Tur explains how her experience with Bob (later Zoey) actually helped her deal with Trump, who singled her out for public ridicule, blasted her as a “third-rate reporter,” and basically called open season on the reporter for his followers. Happily, as the book relates, Tur is tough enough to take it, and found personal as well as professional success, marrying fellow reporter Tony Dokoupil and raising two kids. She still has a fractious relationship with Zoey, and observes, “My father is not Donald Trump and Donald Trump is not my father. But if anyone asked me, I’d recommend the same therapist.”


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