'Big RBG fan' Katie Couric marks another former nightly news anchor who embraces liberal views

Media top headlines October 15

In media news today, Don Lemon denies CNN ‘lied’ about Joe Rogan’s ivermectin COVID treatment, Biden continues to exit without taking reporter questions, and a Washington Post columnist warns critical race theory is ‘potent’ in VA governor race

Former “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric revealed in her new memoir that she was a “huge” fan of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, so much so that she once edited out what she viewed to be a damaging interview answer for the late judge’s progressive legacy.

It was the latest example of a major network news anchor revealing personally liberal politics, at a time when polls show alarmingly low trust by Americans in the media. Couric served as anchor of “CBS Evening News” from 2006 to 2011 after a 15-year stint at NBC’s “Today.”

Couric admitted in her soon-to-be-released memoir that she purposefully cut out portions of Ginsburg’s answer in 2016 criticizing athletes protesting the national anthem. Couric said she was “conflicted” about including the justice’s comment that such gestures showed “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life.”

LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 03:  Katie Couric speaks during an interview promoting the EPIX Original Documentary ‘Under The Gun’ on May 3, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images For EPIX)
(Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images For EPIX))

She called herself a “big RBG fan” and admitted to seeking advice from some fellow journalists about what to do. Ultimately, the story she wrote for Yahoo! included quotes from Ginsburg saying kneelers were “dumb and disrespectful,” but she omitted the above remarks.

“As multiple outlets have shown over the years, this wasn’t simply a one-off, but a pattern of behavior from Couric in which she put her own desires and opinions over the facts and the news writ large,” NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck told Fox News Digital. “She possesses a level of shamelessness that could only be topped by the likes [of] Dan Rather, Brian Stelter, and Brian Williams.”

Couric was blasted by fellow journalists for her decision, with New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman calling it “toxic.” That Couric viewed her responsibility to protect Ginsburg’s reputation rather than report her newsworthy remarks alarmed colleagues.

“I too always like to omit the most newsworthy and interesting parts from all my interviews with important and powerful people,” reporter Ben Jacobs sarcastically tweeted.

It’s not her first brush with partisan journalism. Couric came under fire in 2016 for her pro-gun-control documentary that misleadingly edited a clip of gun rights supporters to make them look struck silent by one of her questions. In reality, they immediately answered her query about background checks. Despite a firestorm of criticism, Couric stood by her director’s decision to edit the clip and said she was “proud” of the work.

Network news anchors have historically been viewed as sober, nonpartisan figures, but Couric and others have damaged that reputation. A recent Gallup poll shows only 36 percent of Americans have at least a “fair amount” of trust and confidence in media reporting from newspapers, TV, and radio. It’s the second-lowest figure ever recorded in the survey, fueled by just 31 percent of independents and 11 percent of Republicans responding in the affirmative.

Former “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams is now a left-wing host for NBC’s liberal cable arm MSNBC, and former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather is an outspoken progressive who routinely rails against Republicans and conservatives on his Twitter feed.

Brian Williams from "NBC Nightly News" answers a question during the panel for NBC News at the NBC Universal sessions of the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, California January 10, 2010. REUTERS/Phil McCarten (UNITED STATES – Tags: ENTERTAINMENT) – RTR28QDN

Williams was a respected, highly-rated anchor at NBC until he was stripped of his role in 2015 after he was caught fabricating a story of being forced down by enemy fire in a helicopter over Iraq. 

The truth-challenged anchor had repeatedly told the tale of his helicopter being struck by enemy fire in Iraq in 2003, but it was actually a separate helicopter flying ahead of Williams’ craft that was hit and forced to do an emergency landing. 

When the suspension concluded, Williams was demoted to MSNBC where he attempted to revive his career as a solo news anchor. He was eventually given a late-night opinion show on the progressive network. He regularly spouts liberal ideology, pokes fun at conservatives and was an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump.  

Williams failed to push back in 2019 when NBC News contributor Frank Figliuzzi floated a bizarre theory that Trump decided flags honoring mass shooting victims would be raised from half-mast on a specific date that could be seen by white supremacists as a nod to Adolf Hitler.  

In 2020 he blamed his own employer for putting Trump in position to be elected because NBC aired the reality show that grew his star power.  

“‘The Apprentice’ deepened Trump’s understanding of the medium and its power,” Williams said. “It turns out 14 seasons of a television show might have been the pilot for the Trump presidency.” 

Nowadays, the once-proud anchor often aligns with the disgraced anti-Republican group The Lincoln Project in disparaging GOP officials. In July he promoted a Lincoln Project ad by calling the Republican Party “a collection of crazies, sycophants, deniers, haters, and obfuscators” before allowing the partisan group to receive free air time at the conclusion of his program.  

Williams once referred to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, as “Kremlin Cruz” and accused him of “peddling Russian propaganda.” The former “NBC Nightly News” anchor has insulted both Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott and Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis by describing their support for Trump in a crude manner.  

Rather famously tarnished his legacy in 2004 when he aired unverified documents in a report about President George W. Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard. Rather claimed Bush received preferential treatment to get into the guard and stay in the United States during the Vietnam War, and had failed to satisfy the requirements of his service. However, Rather’s reporting turned out to be based on forged documents. 

FILE – In this Nov. 30, 2015 file photo, Journalist Dan Rather attends The Independent Filmmaker Project’s 25th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards in New York. Rather will host an hour-long television special in two weeks on five musicians who have died within the past 13 months, featuring his own interview with the late Merle Haggard. The special also focuses on Prince, David Bowie, Natalie Cole and B.B. King and is scheduled for June 7 on AXS-TV. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

He eventually apologized for the “mistake in judgment” and was vanished from role as anchor of “CBS Evening News” in 2005, but he didn’t disappear altogether.  

Rather also played a starring role in former correspondent Bernard Goldberg’s 2001 book “Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distorts the News,” which accused Rather of bringing a hostility to conservatives into his reporting. 

Rather has since appeared on countless liberal outlets and programs, including MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” where he compared Trump to segregationist George Wallace in 2015. He also has managed to maintain relevancy with a far-left Twitter persona.  

Rather has emerged as an outspoken liberal and recently attacked pro-life Americans who’ve also criticized the Biden administration for abandoning vulnerable women in Afghanistan. He called people who don’t believe in the dangers of climate change “disingenuous snowflakes” in a Substack entry.  

He has frequently appeared on CNN’s far-left media program, “Reliable Sources” and drew criticism when he mocked Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s originalist judicial philosophy as the same as wanting to go back to using “leeches for medicine.” 

While Rather has come out as a partisan lefty, the 2004 infamous unauthenticated report has largely defined his legacy.  

Couric’s Ginsburg scandal drew comparisons to her CBS predecessor.

“This is Dan Rather territory,” Fox News contributor Joe Concha said on a recent edition of “Outnumbered” about her admission.

Even current “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt raised eyebrows this year – and garnered praise from liberal media supporters – when he declared the notion of fairness “overrated.”

“I think it’s become clear that fairness is overrated … the idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in,” Holt said in March while accepting an award at the 45th Murrow Symposium. 

Houck, whose conservative media watchdog group has long been deeply critical of figures like Rather, Williams, and Couric, said the latter’s act with Ginsburg showed a “poisonous disdain for the public.”

“When acts such as deceptive editing and purposeful omission are revealed, they’re incredibly damaging to public trust in the media and only topped by plagiarism or outright making up stories,” Houck said. “It is crucial for the public to trust the news media and there to be a rigorous independent press, but they’ve spent decade after decade squandering their opportunities with zero genuine attempts to regain it.” 

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.

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