Does Katie Couric deserve to be fired for substituting a John McCain answer?
Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Wed, 07/23/2008 – 2:13pm
Regular readers know I’m not a fan of the brand of journalism Katie Couric practices. But even if you are a Katie Couric fan, you have to be appalled at her latest “journalism” escapade: censoring an interview with John McCain, removing an answer that made McCain look extremely foolish on Iraq and substituting a different answer.
If the speculation is true, Couric will be replaced around the beginning of the year as anchor of the CBS Evening News. But she will still be doing journalism in some form for CBS, most likely “60 Minutes.”
The network of Edward R. Murrow, Douglas Edwards, Walter Cronkite, and Dan Rather has been replaced by the network of Les Moonves, Rick Kaplan, and Katie Couric. This is the same newscast that fired a producer for plagiarism for one of Couric’s “essays.”
At least that producer got fired. Who will get the boot for this blatant violation of basic journalism?
If a network has protected Obama in such a fashion, we would be hearing huge outcries for firings. Just because a network protected a Republican candidate (again) doesn’t mean the outcome should be any different.
I’m sure they will try to find a lackey to take the fall this time. But Couric has the title of managing editor, and Kaplan is the executive producer, and that should count for something. Is anyone willing to admit they are in charge of the news department at CBS?
In the real world, performance and yes, sometimes, ethics sometimes happens if you are worried that you lose your job. You may not be the most ethical person in the world, but if you thought you would lose your job, you might be more ethical than what would be in your heart.
If Couric or Kaplan figured they could get away with substituting a McCain answer that would make him look really bad and place one in that makes him look good, and not pay a price for their deeds, what would prevent them from doing so?
For all the Dan Rather hoopla, which did cost him his job, the truth behind the story was never disputed. In this instance, the deception is not in dispute.
If Couric lost her job and her $15 million a year salary; if Kaplan lost his multi-million dollar salary; if other journalists saw immediate repercussions to their efforts, you would see changes in the MSM that would produce long-term efforts that could restore some credibility to the process.
Is there anything different in what Couric did than the fates of Jayson Blair, Janet Cooke, and Stephen Glass? And if there isn’t anything different, should TV news get away with cheap tricks such as this that get people fired in newspapers and magazines?