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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

CBS-The Same Wine In A Brand New Bottle

Today, Lowell Ponte and Jonah Goldberg looked at the CBS hiring of Katie Couric as the new anchor of their nightly news. The Today Show star of many years is trading in her light-weight credentials for the more serious daily treatment of the news.

Goldberg sees her as just another actress/model/news anchor.

Ponte provides a sampling of Couric's ultra-liberal ideology:

“Good morning. The Gipper was an airhead! That's one of the conclusions of a new biography of Ronald Reagan that's drawing a tremendous amount of interest and fire today, Monday, September the 27th, 1999,” said Couric in opening that day's show.

“Only four percent of the delegates in the convention hall are African-Americans,” said Couric to General Colin Powell on August 1, 2000, during the week of the Republican National Convention. “Do you feel troubled at all by this, and do you feel used by your party?”

“Let's talk a little bit more about the right-wing…a climate that some say has been established by religious zealots or Christian conservatives,” said Couric in an interview with former Texas Democratic Governor Ann Richards broadcast on C-SPAN on April 3, 1999. “I just would like you to reflect on whether you feel people in this country are increasingly intolerant, mean-spirited, etc., and what, if anything, can be done about that….”

“Then the fallout from the death of Matthew Shepard. The tragic beating of the college student in Wyoming has some activists in this country saying there is a climate of anti-gay hate that's been fostered by a provocative advertising campaign by the political Right in this country,” said Couric on Today, October 13, 1998.

On October 12, 1998, while interviewing the governor of Wyoming, Couric asked whether “conservative political organizations like the Christian Coalition, the Family Research Council and Focus on Family [sic.] are contributing to this anti-homosexual atmosphere” by suggesting that homosexuals can change their sexual orientation.

(“It was clear six years ago, and remains clear today,” said Focus on the Family President Don Hodel in December 2004, after NBC had defended Couric's comments, “that Ms. Couric's tone and manner were not that of an impartial journalist seeking the truth about a tragedy. It was the tone and manner of an advocate intent on repeating an unfounded accusation disguised as a question.”)

“Some people are very concerned about talk shows, radio talk shows in general, of course. Most of them around the country have a decidedly conservative bent. The rap that some people give them is that they reflect the views of a very vocal minority, the extremists in this country, and don't really reflect the true nature of political debate in the United States. And, as a matter of fact, they tend to be quite divisive and sort of have a bad, a negative impact on the country,” said Couric during a Today interview with Oliver North, March 13, 1995.

“Some suggested over the weekend that it's wrong to expect Elian Gonzalez to live in a place that tolerates no dissent or freedom of political expression. They were talking about Miami,” said Couric on Today, April 3, 2000. “Another writer this weekend called it 'an out of control banana republic within America.'“

“So you don't think the right-wing should be so narrow-minded or rigid when it comes to abortion?” asked Couric of Republican National Committee chair Haley Barbour, February 1, 1993.

And there are more samples at DiscoverThe Networks.org.

Think Tanker Andrew "Skip" March has this take:

It doesn't matter who is sitting in the CBS anchor chair as long as the culture and programming doesn't change. There will be a temporary curiosity spike and probably some change in viewer demographics based on gender. The selection certainly suggests gender pandering and an entertainment (rather than news) bias. They tried to fool or divert the public's attention by putting Dan Rather in a sweater and it didn't work. I'd have to say that CBS still has the typical liberal disregard for the general viewing public's intelligence and insight. They also haven't gotten the message that it's not about the anchor...it's about the content. Frankly there are some things that Couric does very well, otherwise she wouldn't have been so successful. Hard news hasn't been one of them. We'll see.....

I see that she fits CBS new image as an important source for objective news reporting. Now, Katie, what was that question about Reagan being an "airhead"? Can you give a few recipes around the Thanksgiving holiday in between that item about Republicans starving babies and black curches burned down by skin-heads? Come 2008 she will be treating Al Gore as a sensible candidate.

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