Katie Couric, the former host of Today, has come under heavy fire after revealing how she’d deliberately omitted comments made by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her new memoir, Going There. Couric, a fan of the Ginsburg, admitted she didn’t want to give the wrong opinion when she asked RBG what she thought about athletes like Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest. Here are some of the deleted comments from Ginsburg that Couric decided not to publish:
“The kneeling protest shows a ‘contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life. Which they probably could not have lived in the place they came from … as they became older they realize that this was youthful folly. And that’s why education is important.’
‘Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning.’”
Couric did at least leave in Ginsburg’s statement that anthem protests were “dumb and disrespectful,” but claims in her memoir that she thought RBG, who was 83 at the time, was “elderly and probably didn’t fully understand the question.”
It is not a journalist’s job to pick and choose quotes that will make a personal favorite more appealing. If Couric thought the justice was too elderly to understand the question, then how could she justify advocating for RBG to continue as a Supreme Court Justice?
Backlash immediately surfaced from the world of reporters. New York Times Correspondent Maggie Haberman said, “This is toxic on a lot of levels.” Reporter Ben Jacobs quipped sarcastically, “I too always like to omit the most newsworthy and interesting parts from all my interviews with important and powerful people.” And Daily Mail columnist Meghan McCain wrote:
“This is not the role of a journalist … You can’t complain about distrust in the media when one of the most famous interviewers admits to rigging interviews to make liberals look good. I now have even more questions about her ethics in regards to interviewing conservatives.”
Couric, who accused ABC’s Diane Sawyer of exploiting Whitney Houston in a 2002 interview, has been accused of trying to sabotage other females to further her own career. Always competing with Sawyer for interviews, she wondered allowed what the interview queen did to get her high-profile interviews. “That woman must be stopped,” she said at one time.
Reporting and journalism should not be about sensationalizing or carefully selecting information to make a person look better or worse. Yet, about the same time as the 2016 interview with Ginsburg, Couric was called out for the way she edited her film, Under the Gun, which made it seem that Second Amendment advocates couldn’t respond about background questions.
Couric asked the members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) about the “ability of convicted felons and those on the terror watch list to legally obtain a gun,” according to her statement, which was published by Variety. Although the members answered immediately, in the final version, the question “was followed by an extended pause, making the participants appear to be speechless.” The extra “beat” was added as “’dramatic effect’ to give the audience a moment to consider the question,” which was the apparent excuse for the eight-second silence.
But that wasn’t all. Couric has been tweaking stories and antagonizing others for years. As the Daily Mail reported, in her book, the former talk show host said she gave Ashleigh Banfield, the former CNN presenter, “the cold shoulder at NBC because helping her would be ‘self sabotage.’” After replacing Deborah Norville on Today, Couric said she had a “’relentless perfection’ which turned off breakfast show viewers.” Regarding Martha Stewart, Couric said it took a “few years in prison for her to develop a sense of humor.” She even put down the royal family, saying Prince Harry reeked of cigarettes and alcohol while Prince Andrew “cozied up to Jeffery Epstein” at a dinner at his New York mansion.
She then got a bit more personal by calling out her former nanny, known as “Doris” in the book, saying she was “creepy and needy and that she fired her for spreading gossip about her first husband,” according to the Daily Mail. The news outlet reached out to the nanny, whose real name is Nancy Poznek. She had a different story. Poznek said the reporter was the needy one and that she was “so disorganized it was like living with a ‘teenage boy.’”
It seems no one escapes Couric’s insults. She claimed her ex-boyfriend, Brooks Perlin, was a ‘mid-life crisis’ decision since he was 17 years younger than her, and television producer Tom Werner was a “textbook narcissist.”
At a time when the public is growing ever more distrustful of the media, Couric’s tell-all book just hammers the nail in the coffin even deeper. However, on the other side of the coin, BuzzFeed News reporter Sarah Mimms might have it right: “Please allow Katie Couric to keep telling on herself and others.”
~ Read more from Kelli Ballard.