Long before the 2008 presidential campaign, I found CBS News Anchor Tracy Flick Katie Couric annoying. Like Reese Witherspoon‘s character in the 1999 flick Election, Couric comes across as smug and self-righteous. It seems she believes that her prominence means she knows better than the rest of us. That’s one reason I didn’t watch the entirety of her interview last fall with the then- Republican nominee for Vice President and, for a time, had taken an Obama-supporting friend’s word that Couric had asked Palin about her record in Alaska.
How wrong I was.
It seemed to me that she didn’t know anything about Alaska, about my job as governor, about my accomplishments as a mayor or a governor, my record.
So, I decided to review the transcripts and found that Couric didn’t ask a single question about Palin’s record in office. You’d think that when a politicians suddenly vaults onto the national stage, the media would be interested what she had previously accomplished in state office. But, Katie Couric showed no such interest. No wonder some have defined her treatment of this reforming Governor with a record of bipartisanship as part of a pattern of media malpractice.
The malpractice may go deeper than Couric’s failure to ask Palin about her record. Couric and her team at CBS may have edited out some of Palin’s more thoughtful answers to focus on her seemingly air-headed ones. Ann Althouse observes than in her book,
Sarah Palin criticizes CBS for editing long interviews into the most damaging soundbites and making her look stupid and irritable. . . . There is a lot of material in the book making assertions about all sorts of trenchant comments Palin supposedly made. Palin says she was asked the same questions over and over in an effort to elicit a bad answer. She says that some of her answers were clipped after some simple beginning and before she delved into details that would have made her look smart and knowledgeable
No wonder I find Couric so smug, so self-righteous. She claims all she’s doing is reporting the news, but in reality she wants to make the news and shape our perceptions of political figures.
A real reporter would ask not just about a candidate’s stance on various issues, but about her record and would not edit an interview to make the candidate look bad, but to present her views accurately.
This is not to say that Palin did not handle certain questions poorly. Even she acknowledges she could have done a better job with some of the questions. This is to say that Katie Couric showed no respect for Sarah Palin. I might be less dismissive of the CBS News Anchor if she didn’t put herself forward as a non-partisan purveyor of the news and instead acknowledged her bias as we in the blogopshere do.
On matters of integrity, we bloggers, even the most partisan among us, are far ahead of Katie Couric. And yet she wins awards for her “journalism.” A sign that the problem is her profession goes far beyond this one woman’s partisanship. No wonder she and her fellow anchors are rapidly losing audience. And people are going elsewhere for news and information.