Couric on running interference for RBG: Hey, the national media do that all the time

Couric on running interference for RBG: Hey, the national media do that all the time

We know, we know. “Ultimately,” Katie Couric tells a very skeptical Savannah Guthrie, “I think I should have included” Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s harsh comments about those who kneel in protest at the national anthem. But it’s Couric’s comments on editorial bias that unintentionally reveal the truth:

GUTHRIE: How did you justify that? It violates a cardinal rule of journalism to do that.

COURIC: Well, I think what people don’t realize is we make editorial decisions like that all the time. And I chose to talk about this and put it in the book for a discussion. I mention that it was a conundrum, that I asked Justice Ginsburg about Colin Kaepernick and taking the knee and how she felt about that. And I did include the fact that she said it was dumb and disrespectful, it was stupid and arrogant, and quite a bit of what she said.

This is rather breathtaking in its own arrogance. Couric wants to get credit for including these comments in her memoir while excusing her burying of the comments at the time of her reporting. Huh? In the same memoir, Couric admits that her motivation in burying the more harsh comments was intended to protect Ginsburg:

According to Couric, she ‘wanted to protect’ Ginsburg and felt that the issue of racial justice was a ‘blind spot’ for her.

In what capacity is that the job of a journalist? To Guthrie’s credit, she pushes Couric on this point too, and Couric largely dodges it. Now that she has a book to sell, Couric wants a discussion of editorial “decisions” when it profits her, and far beyond the time when it might impact Ginsburg’s standing. That’s not transparency — it’s marketing.

Couric’s explanation here magnifies the hypocrisy rather than mitigating it. Why did Couric ask Ginsburg about Kaepernick and the kneeling controversy at all? She wanted to make the interview even more pop-culture relevant, clearly. But when Ginsburg apparently surprised her by being harshly critical of Kaepernick, suddenly Couric wasn’t interested at all in Ginsburg’s response to the question Couric herself raised. Would Couric have cut that answer out of an interview she conducted with Samuel Alito, or even more to the point Clarence Thomas, who likely shares Ginsburg’s contempt for the anthem protests? The answer to that question isn’t just no but hell no.

Ironically, Couric herself has a “blind spot” about media consumers. People realize all too well that media outlets “make editorial decisions like that all the time.” It’s called editorial bias, and it’s a constant in the national media. “Republicans pounce!®” is an ongoing feature of editorial bias, and so is the national media’s tendency to soft-focus progressives while harshly scrutinizing conservatives. That’s exactly what Couric did in running interference on Ginsburg’s behalf after the justice crossed her up on the Kaepernick controversy.

Addendum: Contrary to Couric’s claim, we’ve been discussing this kind of editorial bias for decades. Read Bernard Goldberg’s seminal book on the topic, Bias, if you haven’t already. The latest edition carries a foreword from yours truly, published by Regnery, which is a unit of Salem Communications as is this website.

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David Strom 5:21 PM on March 31, 2023