Meet the Real
CBS’s New Star Adores
Liberals, Scolds Conservatives — And Thinks America Should Be More Like France
By Rich Noyes, MRC
August 29, 2006
After more than two decades in which Dan Rather used his CBS Evening News
anchor desk as a soapbox to punish conservatives and promote liberals —
years in which the Evening News tumbled from the undisputed ratings
leader to a poor third place among the nightly newscasts — CBS has elevated
Katie Couric, the longtime co-host of NBC’s Today, to sit as Rather’s
In TV ads promoting Couric’s arrival, outgoing interim anchor Bob Schieffer
claimed: "She’s tough, she’s fair, she’s a straight-shooter....Just watch." But
meeting with TV critics in early July, Couric suggested a desire to supplant
journalistic objectivity with activism. "There are cases where we can be more
solution-oriented," Couric proposed.
If her track record is a reliable guide, any policy "solutions" promoted by
the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric will likely consist of tiresome
liberal clichés: greater burdens on private business, more spending, more taxes
and a bigger role for government. Media Research Center analysts have documented
Couric’s liberal slant since the day she started on Today back in 1991.
Over the years, Couric has embraced liberal politicians, admired Europe’s nanny
states, and harshly castigated conservatives in general and the religious right
Hillary Clinton has long been a Couric favorite. Back in 1992, Couric tossed
these softballs Hillary’s way: "Do you think the American people are ready for a
First Lady who is that involved at a policy making level at the White House?" As
for the public’s negative view of Hillary’s overreaching, Couric asked the
then-future First Lady: "Do you think those kinds of reactions, Mrs. Clinton,
are the result of good old-fashioned sexism?"
Eleven years later, after Hillary had moved from the White House to the U.S.
Senate, Couric was still banging the same drum. Referring to Hillary’s critics,
Couric in 2003 presented Mrs. Clinton as unfairly victimized: "Were you
surprised at the backlash, the really vitriolic, violent backlash against you in
many ways? Do you think it was good old-fashioned sexism?"
Katie Couric’s feminism is rarely far from the surface. Hearing that the
liberal Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi had won the race to become the Democrats’ House
Leader, Couric cheered on air: "You go, girl!" In 2005, she fretted that the
women’s movement had not accomplished more: "Working mothers still struggle with
inadequate, costly child care, and workplaces that are far from family
Couric has often argued that the government should play a greater role in
raising America’s children. Last year, she told a guest, "This country is pretty
far behind in providing really superior child care for working parents, right?"
In 1995, she touted France’s government-subsidized child care centers. "The
system works because the French make it work. Child care is a national priority
and is neither debated nor questioned," she enthused. "Sounds like America could
learn a lot from the way the French do things in terms of day care."
Six years later, she smiled on France’s economically ill-advised attempt to
force a mandatory 35-hour work week. "So great, that young mother being able to
come home at 3:00 every day and spend time with her child. Isn’t that nice? The
French, they’ve got it right, don’t they?"
As Couric saw it, Cuba’s communist tyranny has been a success. Profiling
Cuba’s "charismatic" dictator Fidel Castro in 1992, Couric naively gushed: "His
revolution delivered. Campaigns stamped out illiteracy and even today, Cuba has
one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world."
She absurdly described ex-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as someone whose
regime saved lives, rather than took them by the tens of thousands. "No matter
how deplorable Saddam Hussein was considered," she lectured Senator John McCain
in 2004, "he was the ultimate referee who kept the Sunnis and the Shiites apart
from killing each other."
In her years on Today, Couric echoed liberal attack ads targeting
conservatives as "rigid" and "intolerant." At the 1992 GOP convention, she
confronted Vice President Dan Quayle: "Abortion rights have been totally ignored
in this platform; gay rights not acknowledged....Do you think the Republican
Party has grown, or become, too exclusionary, too intolerant, and that this kind
of rhetoric is divisive and counterproductive?"
After Republicans swept the congressional races two years later, Couric
blamed it on "angry" voters: "What do you think is behind the so-called
surliness of the voters," she asked newly-elected GOP Senator Olympia Snowe.
"Why do you think they’re so angry?"
Couric was quick to finger the religious right for the murder of gay college
student Matthew Shepard in 1998, touting left-wing activists’ claims of "a
climate of anti-gay hate that’s been fostered by the political right." She told
NRA President Charlton Heston he should push for "greater restrictions" on guns
after a spate of school shootings. She disparaged conservative talk radio,
asserting that "as a matter of fact, they tend to be quite divisive and sort of
have a bad, a negative impact on the country."
In 1999, Couric decided to begin the Today show by insulting Ronald
Reagan: "Good morning. The Gipper was an airhead!" Two days later, the author of
the Reagan biography she was supposedly summarizing told Couric she’d gotten it
exactly backwards: "Oh, good God, no!" author Edmund Morris upbraided Couric.
"He was a very bright man."
But Couric took other opportunities to bash the Gipper. She suggested to
William F. Buckley that the Reagan-Bush years had left a "negative deposit" on
the country, noting how "people on the other side of the political
spectrum....might say that greed and materialism was the norm then, and that
social ills were largely ignored, and therefore only worsened as a result of
And in 2003, after conservatives succeeded in getting CBS to scrap plans to
air a derogatory mini-series on the 40th President, Couric seemed alarmed: "Some
are wondering if the former President is totally off-limits to criticism these
days." She fretted: "Is Ronald Reagan untouchable?"
While Reagan’s critics were not to be suppressed, those who criticized Bill
Clinton often felt Couric’s wrath. At the height of the Lewinsky scandal, Couric
disparaged the President’s accusers. "Are there a bunch of self-righteous
hypocrites on Capitol Hill?" she asked commentator Pat Buchanan. A few months
later, Couric introduced a profile of Linda Tripp: "Many people think of her as
the ultimate betrayer." And when former aide George Stephanopoulos wrote about
his years with the Clintons, Couric scolded him for revealing too much about
their marriage: "Is nothing sacred?"
Couric’s years on Today have seen her liberal skew on full display.
The next pages present a detailed accounting of the kind of bias that’s likely
to greet viewers of the CBS Evening News starting in September.
■ "Do you think the American people are not ready for someone who is as
accomplished and career-oriented as Hillary Clinton?"
— Interviewing Hillary Clinton on Today, August 24, 1992.
■ "Giving Senator Clinton her due, though we talk about her feminine wiles,
she has also won a great deal of respect by working very, very hard, and by not
pulling any kind of prima donna act....It’s been quite remarkable. Because she
is so disliked and, and the conservative Republicans speak of her in such
vitriolic terms, that they’re like putty in her hands up there! I mean many of
them said, ‘Oh, my constituents will kill me, but I really like her.’"
— Observation made to Gail Sheehy, discussing a gushing profile of Hillary
Clinton that Sheehy wrote for the August issue of Vanity Fair, on NBC’s
Today, July 16, 2001.
■ "Clearly, you felt uncomfortable with the traditional role, or some aspects
of the traditional role, alone, of First Lady. But clearly some people didn’t
cotton to the notion of a co-presidency.... Were you surprised at the backlash,
the really vitriolic, violent backlash against you in many ways? Do you think it
was good old-fashioned sexism?"
— To Hillary Clinton on Today, June 10, 2003.
Feeling Her Feminism
■ "We decided to take a look at just how far the women’s movement has come in
the past 30 years....Is feminism dead? By the looks of this March in Washington
D.C. last April, more than a million strong, it’s alive and well and attracting
a whole new following....New people, new energy, new attitudes....[But] while
nearly as many women are now in the workforce as men, they are still paid less —
about 76 cents for every dollar a man makes, up from 59 cents in the seventies.
For poorer women stuck in lower income jobs the gap is even wider....And working
mothers still struggle with inadequate, costly child care, and workplaces that
are far from family friendly....In a culture that sometimes celebrates women
more for their breasts than their brains, it’s important to recognize the doors
that have been opened."
— Today, February 8, 2005.
■ Ann Curry: "Today House Democrats are poised to pick Congresswoman
Nancy Pelosi as Minority Leader. The California Democrat would be the first
woman ever elected a party leader in Congress. It is now 7:07 a.m. You are now
up to date from the news desk. Let’s now turn back to Matt, Katie and Al."
Katie Couric: "Is it okay to say, ‘You go girl!’?"
Curry: "I think it’s okay. It’s gonna happen in either case."
— NBC’s Today, November 14, 2002.
■ Katie Couric: "Our next guest is best known as Dr. Lilith Crane on
NBC’s hit comedy Cheers and Frasier. But in her new film
Tadpole she plays a sexy 40 year-old chiropractor who beds a 15 year-old
boy....I loved the movie, and it seems very French to me for some reason in its
sensibilities....You know, a lot of people, including the Today show,
have glommed onto this whole notion of older women, younger men. It’s sort of
like, you know, the older woman–"
Actress Bebe Neuwirth: "Not a bad way to go by the way."
Couric: "I was gonna say, ‘The older woman’s revenge,’ finally!"
— NBC’s Today, August 1, 2002.
■ "Thomas Jefferson was the very first Secretary of State and 62 men followed
after him until 1997 and the selection of Madeleine Albright....Madeleine
Albright’s new book, Madam Secretary, A Memoir, goes on sale today. Madam
Secretary, good morning. Nice to have you....At the time that you were selected
to be Secretary of State, there was lots of speculation that might be you, or it
might be someone like Senator George Mitchell. And there were published stories
at the time that listed you as a second-tier candidate. Do you think that was
because you’re a woman?"
— To Madeleine Albright on Today, September 16, 2003.
Katie Outed As Abortion Activist?
Katie Couric: "So you write about choice meaning what?"
Actress/comedian Whoopi Goldberg: "Well because, you know, when you get
out there and you march, because we’ve marched together."
Couric, giggling: "Nooo. I’m not allowed to do that."
Goldberg, staring upward: "Oh, no, that’s right. We have not marched
together. It was somebody that
looked like you. Uh, I forget where I am sometimes."
Couric: "You were talking about, want me to remind you? About the
pro-choice movement and what pro-choice means to you?"
— Exchange on Today during interview about Goldberg’s new book,
September 29, 1997.
Hell Hath No Fury...
■ "You know you, you angered a lot of feminists when you accused Anita Hill. In
fact, you detailed how she changed her testimony during questioning, during the
Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. And you accused of her publicly, quote,
‘Flat out perjury.’ Any regrets?"
— To Senator Arlen Specter, March 6, 2001 Today.
■ "You talked, Anita, about some of the very supportive letters you’ve gotten,
and some of the letters that have touched you. Have you received any hate
mail?...They find you offensive, most of all, because you are a black
woman?...Twenty years from now, fifty years from now, when people look back at
these hearings, how do you want them to think of you?"
— Questions to Anita Hill, October 7, 1992 Today.
Envying Europe’s Nanny States
■ "Ninety percent of France’s three- to five-year-olds attend government
subsidized centers like this one....The system works because the French make it
work. Child care is a national priority and is neither debated nor
questioned....Sounds like Americans could learn a lot from the way the French do
things in terms of day care."
— Today, May 5, 1995.
■ Keith Miller: "Break out the band, bring on the drinks. The French are
calling it a miracle. A government-mandated 35-hour work week is changing the
French way of life. Two years ago, in an effort to create more jobs, the
government imposed a shorter work week on large companies, forcing them to hire
more workers....These American women, all working in France, have time for lunch
and a life."
Avivah Wittenberg-Cox: "More Americans should
be more aware that an economy as successful as the French one managed to be
successful without giving up everything else in life."
Katie Couric, following the end of Miller’s taped piece: "So great that
young mother being able to come home at three every day and spend that time with
her child. Isn’t that nice? The French, they’ve got it right, don’t they?"
— NBC’s Today, August 1, 2001.
■ "You know the U.S. is the only industrialized nation, I didn’t know this
until today, that doesn’t spend federal money promoting tourism. Do you think it
— Question to Maryland Governor Parris Glendening on the October 1, 2001
Today. Glendening, a liberal Democrat, said no.
■ Katie Couric: "So many Americans feel overworked, and I have a statistic
— 30 percent do not take their full vacation. I mean, is there something wrong
with this picture? Are we too obsessed with work, because the Europeans sure
have a very different attitude don’t they?"
Former GE Chairman Jack Welch: "And their economy is some trouble."
— Today, April 4, 2005.
■ Katie Couric: "This country is pretty far behind in providing really
superior child care for working parents, right?"
Diane Debrovner, Parents magazine: "For a country that says that
we believe in family values, there’s a lot that we can do....Every mother in
Europe is guaranteed 14 weeks paid maternity leave. Women in this country get 12
weeks of unpaid leave only if they work for a company that has more than 50
— NBC’s Today, October 4, 2005.
Bill Clinton Deserved Even More Fawning Coverage
■ "Why do you think that he doesn’t get credit for the good news that’s going
on? And if Reagan was the ‘Teflon President,’ it seems like Bill Clinton is the
‘Velcro President’ — every bad piece of news just sticks to him."
— Questioning new Democratic National Committee adviser Tony Coelho on NBC’s
Today, August 18, 1994.
by Clinton Under Fire
■ "I also read in the many things that have been written about your son and his
childhood that he used to walk to church alone with a Bible under his
arm....[During the campaign] he, of course, has been the target of a lot of
controversy involving allegations of marital infidelity, draft dodging, not
inhaling. Are these legitimate campaign issues, in your view?...How tough has it
been for you, Ms. Kelley, to witness this, to see these in many ways, character
assassinations, and negative comments made about your son?"
— Questions to Bill Clinton’s mother Virginia Kelley on the July 16, 1992
■ "The woman who started it all. For the past year or so, four words have
described Linda Tripp’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky — perhaps those four
words are, ‘With friends like these....’ Well, Linda Tripp knows full well that
her reputation proceeds her, that many people think of her as the ultimate
betrayer, so she’s, in an effort to rehabilitate her image, is speaking out and
she’s done so with our national correspondent Jamie Gangel."
— Introducing a story on Tripp on Today, February 12, 1999.
■ "A lot of people, George, think that this is just kinda creepy, that you’ve
done this. They see you as a turncoat, a Linda Tripp type, if you will, who sort
of ingratiated himself with the people inside the White House. They made you who
you became and now all of a sudden, you’re telling, you’re airing all the dirty
laundry, and some people just think that’s sorta gross."
"But aren’t some situations off limits? I mean, you talk very candidly about
the President’s relationship with Mrs. Clinton. You had entree to situations
that most people wouldn’t. I mean you were sitting there — or standing there —
once when the President was in his boxer shorts and Hillary came in and they
kissed and you witnessed conversations. I mean, is nothing sacred?"
— First two questions to former Clinton advisor George Stephanopoulos, author
of All Too Human, March 12, 1999 Today.
■ "With the exception of the pardon of Marc Rich and some other moves that
probably were somewhat questionable, would you concede this morning that it’s
gotten to the point where there is a bit of piling on going on here? I mean, it
seems to me that he has done some things that other Presidents have done in the
past. I mean, you look at other presidential libraries, they are filled with
things that those Presidents got during their years at the White House. And yet
somehow it’s become a high crime for Bill Clinton to take some of these things
with him to put in his presidential library."
— To Chris Matthews and Mike Barnicle, referring to the Clintons’ removal of
furniture donated to the White House, not them personally, February 20, 2001
■ "Is it disappointing for both you and your husband that his detractors and
critics continue to pursue him?"
— To Senator Hillary Clinton on NBC’s Today, November 18, 2004.
Clinton’s Impeachment Orchestrated by Self-Righteous Hypocrites
"We’ve been hearing though, in recent days, Pat, [Congressman] Dan Burton say
that he fathered a child out of wedlock. Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth say that,
even despite the fact she campaigned on family values and won as a result of
that campaign, admit that she had an affair with a married man for several
years. I mean, are there a bunch of self-righteous hypocrites on Capitol Hill?"
— Today co-host Katie Couric to Pat Buchanan, September 14, 1998.
Katie Couric: "Most people in this country, according to the polls, do
not believe impeachment hearings should go forward. Are you afraid of a backlash
against the GOP?"
Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR): "Well, the greatest concern for a backlash
would be that the American people perceive that we’re being unfair, overly
partisan in this battle and trying to be vindictive."
Couric: "Don’t you think they perceive that right now?"
— NBC’s Today, October 5, 1998.
Bill Clinton, Ethics Expert
"President Clinton, as you well know, President Bush has been under fire
recently because Karl Rove allegedly released the identity of a CIA agent to
reporters. President Bush has said it’s a fireable offense now if a crime was
committed, but in your view is the ethical violation enough to warrant
— Interviewing former President Bill Clinton on NBC’s Today, July 21,
Deploring Ronald Reagan
■ "When you talk about leaving a deposit, many people say that the Reagan-Bush
administration, people on the other side of the political spectrum, did leave a
negative deposit, or really, the opposite of a deposit. The federal budget
quadrupled under that administration. They might say that greed and materialism
was the norm then, and that social ills were largely ignored, and therefore only
worsened as a result of that neglect."
— Interviewing William F. Buckley Jr., on the September 20, 1993 Today.
■ "All this week you all have made much of Al Gore’s exaggerations but the same
things were often said about Ronald Reagan who would pass off as true stories
things he had seen in the movies. You know Republicans brushed that off as part
of Ronald Reagan’s charms or charm but now you cite it as a major character flaw
when it comes to Al Gore. Why was it charming then and not presidential now?"
— To Bush campaign spokeswoman Karen Hughes, October 11, 2000 NBC Today.
■ "I can’t think of anyone more qualified to write another book about Ronald
Reagan. The question is, do we need another book about Ronald Reagan?"
— First question to former Washington Post reporter and Reagan
biographer Lou Cannon on the November 26, 2001 Today.
"The Gipper Was an Airhead!"
■ "Good morning. The Gipper was an airhead! That’s one of the conclusions of a
new biography of Ronald Reagan that’s drawing a tremendous amount of interest
and fire today, Monday, September the 27th, 1999....We’re going to see why
[author Edmund] Morris thinks Reagan was an airhead, but still a great
— Opening Today, September 27, 1999.
■ Katie Couric: "There has been a lot of outrage expressed by President
Reagan’s friends and associates about your use of the word ‘airhead’ to describe
him. George Bush says it’s brutal, grossly unfair, untrue. Ed Meese, former
attorney general, said it’s not fair, not true. Marlin Fitzwater, former press
secretary, says it’s totally inappropriate to describe the former President that
Reagan biographer Edmund Morris: "I agree with every single one of those.
It’s brutal and grossly unfair. I did not call him an ‘airhead.’...What I said
in the book, that appears plainly on the page, is I found him at first, ‘an
apparent airhead,’ and the whole course of the book makes quite obvious that
that first impression was wrong."
Couric: "So you do not believe today that Ronald Reagan was an airhead?"
Morris: "Oh, good God, no! He was a very bright man."
— NBC’s Today, September 29, 1999.
Criticizing Reagan Bashers = Censorship
■ "While he was in office he was known as the Teflon President, Ronald Reagan.
Now that CBS has pulled a controversial miniseries about him some are wondering
if the former President is totally off-limits to criticism these days. We’ll
have more on that....Still to come this morning on Today, the heated
debate over what can and can’t be said about this country’s 40th President. Is
Ronald Reagan untouchable?"
— Promoting an upcoming Today segment about CBS’s cancellation of
their anti-Reagan mini-series, November 6, 2003.
■ "Does [it] bother you at all that one group in America, or many
Americans...can basically exert this kind of political pressure and create an
environment where, perhaps, free speech is not exercised?"
— To former Reagan campaign manager Ed Rollins later on the same show.
Chiding "Right-Wing" Cheneys
■ "I’m just curious, do you have any problems with the fact that he [Republican
VP nominee Dick Cheney] did vote against Head Start — because you care so deeply
about education — and against a resolution that would have allowed Nelson
Mandela to be released from prison?"
— To Colin Powell, August 1, 2000 Today.
■ "Many people have described you as the true right-wing warrior of the family.
You’re a staunch conservative, you’ve spoken out against feminism,
multiculturalism, you oppose trigger locks for guns....You have been described
by Ken Adelman, a former arms control individual, as ‘thinking all of Western
civilization is in danger from the left and she has no levity about that.’"
— Couric to Lynne Cheney, August 2, 2000 Today.
Republicans: "Rigid," "Exclusionary," "Divisive" and "Draconian"
■ "Your speech at the 1992 Republican Convention where you talked about a
religious war was considered by many to be very polarizing, a real turn off,
self-righteous, superior, exclusionary. Do you regret giving this speech?"
— To Pat Buchanan on Today, August 14, 1996.
■ "Do you think that he [GOP nominee Bob Dole] is in some ways paying the price
for a Republican Congress that enacted, or tried to enact, measures, in the
views of many were simply too harsh or too draconian?"
— Couric to Elizabeth Dole, October 8, 1996 Today.
■ "What about the abortion issue? Do you think the [Republican] party should
remain as rigid vis a vis abortion to be successful in 1996?"
— To Pat Buchanan on Today, February 1, 1992.
■ "So you don’t think the right wing should be so narrow-minded or rigid when
it comes to abortion?"
— To Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour, same show.
■ "Abortion rights have been totally ignored in the platform; gay rights not
acknowledged...Do you think the Republican Party has grown, or become, too
exclusionary, too intolerant, and that this kind of rhetoric is divisive and
— Interviewing Vice President Dan Quayle on Today, August 19, 1992.
Christian Conservatives Created Murderous Climate
■ "Then the fallout from the death of Matthew Shepard. The tragic beating of
the college student in Wyoming has some activists in this country saying there
is a climate of anti-gay hate that’s been fostered by a provocative advertising
campaign by the political right in this country. We’re going to get into that
debate after news and weather."
— Katie Couric opening the October 13, 1998 Today.
■ "Some gay rights activists have said that some conservative political
organizations like the Christian Coalition, the Family Research Council and
Focus on Family are contributing to this anti-homosexual atmosphere by having an
ad campaign saying if you are a homosexual you can change your orientation. That
prompts people to say, if I meet someone who’s homosexual, I’m going to take
action and try to convince them, or try to harm them. Do you believe that such
groups are contributing to this climate?"
— Interviewing Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer on the October 12, 1998 Today.
■ "Let’s talk a little bit more about the right wing because I know that’s
something you feel very strongly about. But this is actually not necessarily
about the right wing, but perhaps a climate that some say has been established
by religious zealots or Christian conservatives. There have been two recent
incidents in the news I think that upset most people in this country, that is
the dragging death of James Byrd, Jr., and the beating death of Matthew Shepard.
I just would like you to reflect on whether
you feel people in this country are increasingly intolerant, mean-spirited,
etc., and what, if anything, can be done about that."
— Questioning former Texas Governor Ann Richards at a 92nd Street Y
appearance in New York City on March 3, 1999 and shown by C-SPAN a month later.
Don’t Forget Those Dangerous Conservative Catholics
■ "Cardinal Ratzinger’s past includes a brief membership in the Hitler Youth
movement, service in the German army in World War II, which was mandatory. But
given his past associations do you think that will create a rift between
Christians and Jews, and what can he do to fix that?"
— To liberal priest Father Andrew Greeley on Today, April 20, 2005,
the day after Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI. Greeley, a Ratzinger
critic, dismissed her concern.
■ "Some of the values, depending on your perspective... may be deemed
wholesome, but in other ways, I think, people will see this community as
eschewing diversity and promoting intolerance....Do you think the tenets of the
community might result in de facto segregation as a result of some of the
beliefs that are being espoused by the majority of the residents there?...You
can understand how people would hear some of these things and be like, wow, this
is really infringing on
civil liberties and freedom of speech and right to privacy and all sorts of
basic tenets that this country was founded on. Right?"
— March 3, 2006 Today, questioning Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan
and real-estate developer Paul Marinelli, who are building a community based on
Catholic values in Ave Maria, Florida.
GOP Win = Voters’ Temper Tantrum
■ "What do you think is behind the so-called surliness of the voters?...Why do
you think they’re so angry?"
— Questions to Republican Senator-elect Olympia Snowe after the GOP won
control of both the House and Senate, November 9, 1994 Today.
Applauding a Tax-Raiser’s "Courage"
■ "Just last night on television I saw your opponent for Governor complaining
about your record, saying how you had raised taxes, how it had cost 300,000
jobs. Are you afraid your politically courageous moves are in fact going to cost
you the election?"
— To New Jersey’s Democratic Governor Jim Florio, May 24, 1993 Today.
Despairing Tax Cuts That Leave Government With "Almost No Money"
■ "The bitter reality is that [with the Bush tax cuts] there’s now almost no
money for either party’s priorities, and that complicates everything. So aren’t
all these discussions almost moot points?"
— To Newsweek’s Howard Fineman, September 5, 2001 Today. At the
time, the U.S. government was taking in more than $2 trillion annually.
■ "The economy was thriving when you were Treasury Secretary and during the,
the Clinton administration. It was even called ‘Rubin-nomics’ for awhile there,
right?...Since then the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 — which you have been an
outspoken critic of, P.S. — have taken effect. We’ve gone from what was a
projected 10-year surplus of over $5 trillion to a projected 10-year deficit of
over $5 trillion."
— To Robert Rubin, Secretary of the Treasury during the Clinton
administration, November 19, 2003 Today.
"Right Wing Conservatives" Desire Dirty Air
■ "A lot of people, though, have been highly critical of the Bush
administration on the environment. They say that you came to the EPA with
incredibly strong environmentalist credentials. And yet, you know, every
proposal that you’ve tried to put forward has gotten a kibosh by right-wing
conservatives within the administration....The bottom line is do you, Christie
Whitman, feel comfortable with the Bush administration’s environmental
— To EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman on the December 2, 2002
Eeek! Katie Can’t Stand Those Scary, Dirty SUVs
■ Katie Couric: "I see a lot of SUVs on the road, and I don’t drive one
— they scare me a little bit because I feel like they could squash me like a bug
in the event of an accident....Before we go, what about the environmental impact
of these cars? They’re huge gas guzzlers, they’re not particularly good for the
environment. How come you’re not emphasizing that as well?"
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal: "Well we will. Stay
— Today, February 1, 2005, after Blumenthal outlined how he would use
money from a settlement with Ford to pay for an advertising campaign encouraging
safe SUV driving.
Let’s Take Up a Collection
■ Co-host Matt Lauer: "Pain at the pump. Gas prices are going sky high.
I paid $2.94 a gallon over the weekend to fill up the car."
Katie Couric: "It’s ridiculous. I had to take out a loan to fill up my
minivan. It’s crazy."
— Exchange at the top of NBC’s Today, August 15, 2005. Couric makes
about $15,000,000 a year.
Scolding NRA For Supporting Gun Rights
■ "Speaking of gun safety and children, Mr. Heston, as you well know, and in
fact as everyone in this country knows, there has been a spate of school
shootings recently that have been quite disturbing to all Americans. Given the
fact that these seem to be happening with greater frequency has it caused you to
rethink your philosophy about children and guns and the accessibility of guns
— Interviewing the NRA’s new President, actor Charlton Heston, June 8, 1998
■ Katie Couric: "Getting back to kids and guns, if you will indulge me for
a moment. You cannot think of any other position the NRA could take in terms of
trying to decrease the number of school shootings? You feel like this is not
your bailiwick, this is not your problem?"
Charlton Heston: "Not at all. As I told you the NRA spends more money,
Couric, cutting him off: "Other than education."
Heston: "Well, what would you suppose? What would you suggest?"
Couric: "I don’t know, perhaps greater restrictions."
— More from the same interview on the June 8, 1998 Today.
Activist Anti-Gun Mom Aiding "All of Mankind"
■ "With Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday, we wanted to salute the hard work,
integrity and love moms show us every day, so this morning we invited three
women who have made their own special contribution to motherhood and, as I said
earlier, to all of mankind, in fact. Donna Dees-Thomases founded the Million Mom
March...Donna, you organized the Million Mom March, and it really was such a
grassroots movement of stroller moms, right? Tell me how it came about."
— Introduction and question to activist Donna Dees-Thomases, NBC’s Today,
May 11, 2001.
Fawning Over Jimmy the Great
■ "President Carter, you are now considered one of the world’s foremost
statesmen. You’ve been called the best ex-President this country has ever had.
Your reputation has been bolstered tremendously since you left office. How does
that make you feel?"
— To Jimmy Carter on Today, November 13, 1991.
■ "I mean, it’s so wonderful...and so well-deserved."
— Reacting to news that former President Carter had been given the Nobel
Peace Prize, October 11, 2002 Today.
■ "President Carter’s crowning achievement, of course, the Camp David Accords,
designed to forge peace in the Middle East. Unfortunately, that seems like a
distant memory, but it’s so nice to see former President Jimmy Carter honored
this way [with a Nobel Peace Prize]....It’s a terrific honor for him for all the
work he did while he was President and, of course, he is considered by many as
one of the finest former Presidents this country has ever seen. Once again, we
send our heartfelt congratulations to President Jimmy Carter."
— December 10, 2002 Today.
■ "I know it really bugs you when people say what a great ex-President you have
been....You once said of your years post-White House, ‘I feel truer to myself.
I’m more a missionary than a politician. I’m really where I belong. I don’t have
anything to fear now.’...Is there anything you don’t do?"
— To Jimmy Carter on Today, October 1, 2004.
Touting the Wonders of Jumping Jim Jeffords
■ "Jim Jeffords is the personification of one man, one vote, and his story a
classic of American politics. What Jim Jeffords did simply was turn Washington
on its ear. In the months following President Bush’s inauguration in January,
the 67-year-old Jeffords found himself increasingly at odds with the GOP on
Capitol Hill and the White House over issues ranging from education, to the
environment, to the
size of the tax cut, all of which forced him to examine his core
beliefs....Jeffords knew and agonized that a political switch at this time
in his career would affect not only him, but Republican colleagues, and his
staff and family....But flying to Vermont in May, Jeffords knew he’d made
the right decision....Today, Jeffords is a man at peace with himself,
enjoying work on his Vermont farm, splitting logs, saving a few pennies with
some inventive repair work on a wheelbarrow."
— Introducing a December 15, 2001 Today show interview with Jeffords.
"Charismatic" Castro’s Cuba vs...
■ "Considered one of the most charismatic leaders of the 20th
century....[Fidel] Castro traveled the country cultivating his image, and his
revolution delivered. Campaigns stamped out illiteracy and even today, Cuba has
one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world."
— Reporting on Cuba’s communist dictator on Today, February 13, 1992.
Saddam Hussein: Mass-Murdering Dictator or a "Referee" Who Saved Lives
■ "Senator McCain, are you concerned that if the transfer of power does take
place on June 30th that a huge vacuum will be created and it will be an
invitation to civil war? Because no matter how deplorable Saddam Hussein was
considered, he was the ultimate referee who kept the Sunnis and the Shiites
apart from killing each other."
— To Senator John McCain on Today, April 5, 2004.
Softballs for Kofi Annan, Hardballs for His Critics
■ "Is your call for the Secretary’s, Secretary General’s resignation
politically motivated in any way, and is this payback for the fact that Kofi
Annan criticized the war in Iraq before the election?"
— To Republican Senator Norm Coleman, who was investigating the UN’s Oil for
Food scandal, on the December 2, 2004 Today.
■ "Does John Bolton have your support?...Do you wish it were someone else who
had been nominated?...What do you hope your legacy will be?...You literally have
the weight of the world on your shoulders."
— To UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in an interview shown on NBC’s Today,
June 7, 2005.
■ "Are you angry that the United States has not been more supportive of the
— Couric to Annan in an excerpt from the same interview shown on the June 6,
2005 NBC Nightly News.
President Bush "Could Have Prevented" 9/11 Plot?
■ "Good morning. What did he know and when did he know it? The Bush
administration admits the President was warned in an intelligence briefing last
summer of the possibility that Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network might hijack
American planes, raising more questions about whether the attacks on America
could have been prevented."
— Couric introducing the May 16, 2002 Today.
Iraq, a Debacle Worse than Vietnam
■ "What are your impressions of the situation in Iraq? How bad is it, in your
— To New York Senator Hillary Clinton on the December 1, 2003 Today.
■ "You say commit more troops. But that’s the same thing LBJ did in Vietnam. Do
you worry that this is another Vietnam?"
— To Hillary Clinton on Dateline, April 16, 2004.
■ "According to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld the insurgency could last
another 12 years....I think most Americans say, ‘Oh my goodness!’ And they gasp
because that seems like such an extended period of time for these very powerful,
very tenacious insurgents to have control of the situation....It must be very
frustrating at times to see things unraveling so."
— To Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Today, June 28, 2005.
Touting the Influential Michael Moore
■ "Love him or hate him, there’s no denying Michael Moore’s influence. His
highly critical film of the Bush administration, Fahrenheit 9/11, is the
highest-grossing documentary of all time. Now Michael Moore is out with a new
book, Will They Ever Trust Us Again? It’s a compilation of letters from
soldiers in Iraq and their families and it is currently on many bestseller
lists. Michael Moore, welcome back."
— Couric to Moore on the January 6, 2005 Today. At the time, Moore’s
book ranked #1,547 on Amazon.com.
Bemoaning "Ridiculous" Lack of "Campaign Finance Reform"
■ "In fact, Senator Specter, as Senator Torricelli mentioned, two votes have
left campaign finance reform legislation pretty much DOA. Do you think that
prompts the American people to wonder about the sincerity of Congress to really
enact change and suspect that perhaps this is an intentional effort to embarrass
the Democratic Party?"
"But it’s so ridiculous, you know, people watching this just think that
reform is necessary. They can’t understand why you guys can’t get your acts
— To Senator Arlen Specter, October 8, 1997 Today.
Let Big Government Fix Our Woes
■ "It is clear that day care in this country is inaccessible to many, cost
prohibitive for others, substandard in many situations. What can the government
actually do to alleviate some of these problems?"
"Regulations for at-home day care vary so much from state to state...do you
think there should be some kind of overall federal regulations?"
— To Hillary Clinton, October 23, 1997 Today.
■ "Seventy-four percent of the respondents in a recent poll think young
Americans without education or job prospects is the greatest threat facing the
country. If that’s the case, if that many people think this is such a serious
problem, shouldn’t government be increasing its role rather than decreasing it?
Many people think that your signing the welfare bill only exacerbated the
situation of poor kids at risk."
— To President Clinton, April 28, 1997 Today.
■ "It sounds like a no-brainer. Seniors spend billions of dollars on
prescription drugs every year, often putting them in terrible financial
situations. So what’s wrong with this plan?"
"While I appreciate your concern about medical research, certainly I feel
passionately about that as well, it’s important for people who are sick now and
who are experiencing problems to be able to get affordable drugs, isn’t it?"
— Asking pharmaceutical industry spokesman Alan Holmer about President
Clinton’s plan to create a new Medicare prescription drug entitlement, June 29,
Let’s Ban Killer Carts
"The safety of car seats, cribs, and toys are the concerns of all you
conscientious parents. Well, now you can add shopping carts to your list.
According to a recent study, shopping cart related injuries account for 25,000
trips to the emergency room every year. At least two deaths have occurred in
related incidents. In the last three years, 2,000 children were hospitalized
from shopping cart injuries such as skull fractures, concussions, cuts, and
— Today, March 20, 1996.
Environmentalist Crusader Al Gore: "Hardcore Centrist"
■ "In his endorsement Tuesday Al Gore said, ‘We need to remake the Democratic
party.’ You’re considered, Governor Dean, more, more left-leaning and Al Gore is
considered sort of a hardcore centrist, if you will. The two of you,
specifically, what do you think needs to be done to remake the Democratic
— To Howard Dean on the December 10, 2003 Today.
Touting Gore’s "Very Real Threat"
■ "Still to come this morning on Today, former President, Vice President
rather — he thought he might be President — Al Gore on the very real threat of
global warning, warming and his political future."
— Katie Couric on Today, May 24, 2006, previewing her upcoming interview with Gore about his global warming movie,
An Inconvenient Truth.
■ Katie Couric: "In this movie at different turns you’re funny,
vulnerable, disarming, self-effacing and someone said after watching it, quote,
‘If only he was like this before, maybe things would’ve turned out differently
Al Gore: "Well, I benefit from low expectations...."
Couric: "What do you see happening in say 15 to 20 years or even 50 years
if nothing changes?"
Gore: "...Sea-level increases of 20 feet or more worldwide. Of course
Florida and Louisiana and Texas are particularly vulnerable. The San Francisco
Bay area, Manila. And we have seen the impact of a couple hundred thousand
refugees from an environmental crisis. [Footage of Hurricane Katrina] Imagine
100 million or 200 million."
Couric: "Even Manhattan would be in deep water, right?"
Gore: "Yes, in fact the World Trade Center Memorial site would be
underwater....Unfortunately Mother Nature is weighing in very powerfully and
— NBC’s Today, May 24, 2006.
But Scolded the Gores’ Campaign for Media Responsibility
"It seems to be the latest rage to blame the media for almost all of
society’s ills. Do you think the media is shouldering a disproportionate amount
of the blame for the destruction of values in today’s society, when there’s also
the demise of social programs and the dissolution of the nuclear family and
other possible explanations?"
— Interviewing Al and Tipper Gore, July 10, 1995 Today.
Denigrating "Divisive" Talk Radio
■ "Some people are very concerned about talk shows, radio talk shows in
general, of course. Most of them around the country have a decidedly
conservative bent. The rap that some people give them is that they reflect the
views of a very vocal minority, the extremists in this country, and don’t really
reflect the true nature of political debate in the United States. And, as a
matter of fact, they tend to be quite divisive and sort of have a bad, a
negative impact on the country."
— To Oliver North, March 13, 1995 Today.
Real Bias Lies With Viewers
Matt Lauer: "You will get a lot of e-mails that’ll say, ‘You were too
light on that conservative.’ You’ll go and file down your e-mails, you’ll find
people who say, ‘You were too hard on that conservative.’ It’s all in your point
of view. It’s much less, I think, our point of view than it is the point of view
of the person watching the interview."
Katie Couric: "That’s true. I think really that it is sort of a Rorsach
test....I think that people really see...what they want to see from their
particular frame of mind, or the prism from which they’re watching the program,
or the interview. And I think actually, that’s an excellent point, Matt."
— NBC’s Today co-hosts during an appearance on MSNBC’s Donahue,
September 18, 2002.
One Is Bedtime Reading, the Other Is Fish Wrap
"Ever since the Civil War...Americans have been reading a magazine called
The Nation. It’s always been a platform for speakers who have been ahead of
their time. This morning we’ll look at a new book that reminds us how important
that platform has been."
— Previewing a segment on the far-left publication on Today, October
■ "Since 1865, the magazine The Nation has billed itself as an
independent publication of politics and culture. What it has really been all
these years is a safe haven for writers, activists and journalists whose
thoughts and ideas in their time were anything but safe....The editor of The
Nation, Victor Navasky is here this morning to celebrate [The
Nation’s 125th anniversary]. Good morning and congratulations....The themes
through the years have remained fairly consistent. Tell us about the kind of
causes that the magazine has championed....There’s such an impressive roster of
literary figures. Why do you think they found this format so appealing?...Victor
Navasky, thank you very much. We hope the magazine will be around another 125
— NBC’s Today, October 22, 1990.
■ "You do, though, Mr. Brock, have some innate biases, don’t you? I mean,
The American Spectator is an ultra-conservative magazine. And it seems as if
you are an advocate for Justice Thomas in the book. Is it really fair to call
yourself an objective journalist?"
— To then-American Spectator contributor David Brock who was on the
May 3, 1993 Today to promote The Real Anita Hill, his book
undermining the sexual harassment charge made by Hill against Supreme Court
Justice Clarence Thomas.
|7:15: Katie Shows She’s
■ "There’s an article in
the Style section of the Washington Post this morning. It says you’ve
logged 26 years of personal minutiae, filling 4,400 two-by-three inch notebooks,
color-coded by season. An example: ‘12:17' — this is when you made the
announcement — ‘Ascend stage, stumble, regain balance; 12:18: Applause, ‘Where
the Streets Have No Name,’ plays (U2); 12:19: Clap, wave; 12:20: Adjust tie
(red, white stripes); 12:21: Double thumbs
up; 12:22: Sing along with National Anthem, right hand on heart.’ What, what
do you do this for?!"
— Interviewing Senator Bob Graham on Today, May 7, 2003, unaware the
article she was quoting from was a spoof of the presidential candidate’s
■ "Last Wednesday, Washington Post Style writer Mark
Leibovich wrote a takeoff of Sen. Bob Graham’s eccentric habit of recording
mundane details of his life in color-coded notebooks. It was — let’s say this in
capital letters — A PARODY. But the joke apparently was lost on NBC’s Katie
Couric, who read the notations that morning to the newly declared presidential
candidate on Today....Graham said it was ‘absurd’ and that he hadn’t yet
made the previous day’s entries. An NBC statement said only that ‘Katie followed
up on a story in the Washington Post regarding the Senator’s daily log.’
Yes, that’s true."
— Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz in a May 12 article
explaining Couric’s goof.
She’s Very PC, but Katie Can’t See
■ Katie Couric: "Time magazine’s Person of the Year issue hits
news stands today and this year it honors the American soldier. Jim Kelly is
Time’s Managing Editor and veteran war photographer James Nachtwey was
embedded with the Army’s First Armored Division in Baghdad and took the
remarkable images in this week’s issue. He was also wounded while on assignment.
welcome, good morning, nice to have you both. I was so, I have to say, just
personally, I was so pleased to see this....Tell me why you all decided to
honor the American soldier? Wondering why there’s no woman on the cover,
Time’s Jim Kelly, pointing to cover: "This is a woman."
Couric: "Oh, there you go. Oh, sorry....I couldn’t tell because of her
— Exchange on NBC’s Today, December 22, 2003.
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