- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 10, 2007

The ratings book has been published and the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric didn’t do very well. The evening news broadcast came in third among the big three. As the golden chairs at CBS scramble to effect job security in the face of these dismal ratings, we are told their failure is our fault. It would seem we are biased against poor Katie Couric.

According to CBS News chief Sean McManus, we, the viewing public, are shallow, unenlightened chauvinists who simply aren’t progressive enough to accept a female news anchor. In an interview with the media industry publication Broadcast & Cable, Mr. McManus said: “I think it is a fact there are probably people, both men and women, who are perhaps uncomfortable having a woman anchor the news. … The way [Miss Couric] is scrutinized, I think sometimes unfairly, quite frankly, I think a lot of that has to do with gender.”

Poor, poor Katie Couric. How horrible it must be to be scrutinized by the American public. What were we thinking? We should be ashamed of ourselves for not accepting Katie as she is; perky, toothy, adept at reading the teleprompter, semitransparent in presenting her editorial biases. How incredibly caddish we have been. One can only imagine what we’ve done to this $15 million a year superstar’s self-esteem.

If you doubt this egregious behavior is taking place, you can lay waste to that skepticism with these words from one of the great defenders of the mainstream media elite — and no slouch when it comes to editorializing the news himself — Larry King, who said: “It might still be hard for a woman to anchor the evening news. … That’s sad.”

Putting Katie Couric’s self-esteem aside for just a moment and completely dispensing with the elitist claptrap of Messrs. McManus and King, the reason the ratings for the “CBS Evening News” with Katie Couric have been so miserable has nothing to do with gender bias. Anyone who believes that probably watches the CBS News with Katie Couric and finds it fact-based and devoid of editorial bias.

Katie Couric has been ideologically biased since she tried to re-invent herself as a serious journalist when she hosted the “Today Show “on NBC. She has been oblivious to — or incapable of reining in — her gushing adoration for such divisive figures as Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, Michael Moore and Cynthia McKinney. She has routinely exhibited a liberal, if not progressive bias in her reporting. She is openly pro-abortion, antiwar, pro-Clinton and anti-Bush. She is against the death penalty, pro-United Nations and once commented that Ronald Reagan was “an airhead” while declaring that Fidel Castro, an oppressors of millions, was a “charismatic leader.” To say Katie Couric displays political bias in her reporting of the news is about as big an understatement as saying Adolf Hitler was a little quirky around Jews.

The excuse issued by Sean McManus — and defended by Larry King — is nothing less than a manufactured falsehood meant to deflect criticism of the status quo and a job poorly done. One need only witness the serious attention that female journalists are receiving on other network and cable news shows to debunk Mr. McManus and Mr. King’s divisive use of the “gender card.” From Diane Sawyer, Megan Kendall and Campbell Brown to Jennifer Griffin, Paula Zahn and Carol McKinley, the American viewing public routinely gathers its information from female journalists, choosing to invest its trust in those who practice true journalism and whose integrity is less suspect than the nightly purveyors of intellectually dishonest, editorialized and agenda driven “news.”

The fact that Mr. McManus and Mr. King, elitist stalwarts of the decaying mainstream media, had the gall to try and pass Miss Couric’s poor ratings off as the consequence of an insensitive, politically incorrect society only testifies to their arrogance, their utter contempt for “the masses.” It proves quite effectively that those who control the old guard news media are completely out of touch with the majority of Americans.

That being said, it’s no wonder the elitists of the mainstream media nervously look over their collective shoulder at the ever-encroaching sound of the new media’s approaching footsteps.

FRANK SALVATO

Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative.

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