Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Rather Than Couric

Tom Degan, one of the best new voices of the blogosphere (and long renowned for his comments at Alternet), has just written an excellent piece on CBS News, the hostile ouster of Dan Rather and the planned arrival of Katie Couric in September 2006. I have been thinking about this topic quite a bit myself lately.

Tom Writes
"When [CBS] announced that they were replacing the great Bob Scheiffer on the CBS Evening News with someone of the journalistic stature of Katie Courac, that did it. When it comes to getting the news, "cute and perky" doesn't really work for me. Maybe she'll surprise us. When Mike Wallace arrived at the company in 1962, no one took him seriously either."

My Reply
Yes, but in 1962, every single tributary of the mainstream media wasn't owned by the same five republican-driven corporations, and there was certainly no policy at that time to promote "cute and perky" faces to the job of presenting party-line, zero-substance, PR propaganda. In the present era, no journalist will succeed in the PR industry (because it's not really "news" anymore) if he or she doesn't follow those rules. If a "journalist" even dared to try to expose any really substantive truth to the public in any story regarding the Bush Administration, or present the other side of a story fairly, their show would either be cancelled or immediately moved from its prime 7 PM (EDT) time slot to 11 PM (EDT).

As for Couric herself, I have had zero respect for her (to put it mildly) since April or May of 1995, when she interviewed a celebrity who believes in always questioning our government officials and never simply taking their word for anything (I'm almost certain that man was comedian David Brenner, whose hometown is Philadelphia, PA, birthplace of the Constitution). I believe (because it's not easy to remember the details), Brenner came on to discuss the U.S. Constitution or the freedom to dissent, or something like that. The interview took place shortly after the Oklahoma City bombing, and the country was in a rage against the sort of radical separatist groups to which Timothy McVeigh supposedly belonged (even though he had been a rabidly patriotic soldier in the first Gulf War just a couple of years earlier).

During the course of Couric's interview, she asked him several questions. To one question, he responded as all TRULY patriotic Americans have responded since the founding of our government in 1787. It's been eleven years since the interview, so I don't remember his exact words, but his response was very vaguely along the lines that he didn't trust our government without question and that no American should trust our government without question. He may even have said (or I was thinking it myself as I watched) the Founding Fathers expected American citizens to be ever vigilant in scrutinizing the actions and motives of our goverment. Keep in mind that Brenner wasn't discussing the FBI debacle in Waco in 1993 or to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. He was just speaking in general.

In short, Brenner was being the sort of person that the press had been championing for decades.

But, by 1995, times had changed. Couric suddenly, and with great hostility, launched into classic TV-news ambush mode, comparing Brenner to the likes of Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols and all the members of the Neo-Nazi groups in this country.

With a very loud scream of disbelief and anger, I immediately switched the channel, and I have never watched Couric since. I can say with great certainty that I despise her and her cutesy, innocent-looking, cherubic face. In that brief moment, she had lumped all patriotic Americans in with radical hate groups because we dare to question our government and to mistrust its motives in some cases.

Anti-Climactic Post Script
As for Rather's retirement, I'm hoping he will soon be hitting us with a few excellent exposés on the Bush/Cheney gang of evil stooges now that he is free of major corporate shackles (or as free as any news person can get in this country). I'm not going to hold my breath, but I might slow my breathing down a bit -- every once in a while.

1 comment:

Wilma Lamb said...

Thomas Jefferson's immortal words should be posted on every classroom wall in the country. Eternal Vigilance is the price of freedom. Not verbatum, I have forgotten the exact words