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Is CBS Evening News being relaunched as news for liberals? 9/26/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in CBS, Couric, PartisanPress.

In the last few decades, network TV news programs have insisted they were providing news that was “objective,” and went to great pains to avoid revealing their anchors’ personal political views. But last night, CBS News anchor Katie Couric stood before the National Press Club and starkly proclaimed that President Bush lied about the reasons the U.S. went to war with Iraq — not made a mistake or a questionable judgment, but lied — placing herself publicly, firmly, and fringe-ishly on the left, well outside the American mainstream.

If a network anchor had made such a statement in the past, it might have been considered a mistake or an embarrassment. But in the current news environment, it cannot be ruled out that this was a deliberate strategy on the part of CBS management. Their news program is performing miserably under Couric’s stewardship, clearly unable to compete against the other two networks. CBS must be noticing that in the more competitive news market of cable TV, the public prefers news with a partisan spin, as Fox’s audience skews toward conservative viewers and CNN skews toward liberal ones. Perhaps CBS also recognizes that the objective news model is still relatively young and unproven (only the last 80 years of human history), is almost entirely an American phenomenon, and is now failing among an increasingly skeptical public.

In the future of news, the Internet will provide us with multitudes of news outlets representing multitudes of worldviews from far left to far right. Is it possible that Couric’s remarks were not a gaffe, but a bold and deliberate CBS move out of a hole and into the future? It’s either that, or no one at CBS even cares about Couric or news anymore.


1. Frank - 9/26/07

“. . . well outside the American mainstream.”

Ha! That’s adorable.

2. Steve Boriss - 9/26/07

Frank, If you can locate a reliable poll on this, I’d be glad to take a look. What you will find is that the mainstream media and left web sites seem to have worked very hard to get the American mainstream to believe that Bush lied and have still failed, except among strong Democrats. Since Katie Couric and other left and center-left reporters tell us that their first responsibility is to the truth, they owed us concrete evidence that he lied, which they failed to deliver. They have also given us no particularly logical reasons that he would have lied. Lacking these, they have been trying to deliver this message to us, not with evidence, but with public opinion polls, and have twisted themselves in knots trying to come-up with poll questions yielding results that suggest that the public believes that Bush lied — not to mention repeating the accusation again and again until they actually might. Some of the survey techniques used have included broadening the question to an accusation against a vague and meaningless “Bush administration,” asking “if he lied,” and quoting clearly unreliable poll services like Ispos and online surveys. No matter what political ideology one might have, based on the lack of any specific evidence, I think it is a crass accusation and does not reflect well on the veracity of the accuser, particularly reporters who represent themselves as “objective,” who in the process seem to be telling a much more obvious lie.

3. Adam - 9/27/07

Whether or not she’s in the mainstream, she is certainly far from any ideal of journalistic integrity or objectivity.

4. Dave Bertelsen - 9/27/07

It will be difficult to determine if CBS really does try to market to the left because from their perspective they are the center. They may honestly beleive that Katie’s remarks are appealing to mainstream America. Even if the polls tell them otherwise that doesn’t mean the story isn’t true.

5. Richard - 9/29/07

Folks, you don’t need to lean left to think Bush has lied.
My father a staunch republican all his life just recently told the republican party fundraisers, “When you get your act together and bring true conservatives into office then I will donate, but for now your not going to get a penny out of me!” Bush and his administration were never true republicans, some of their ideas even lean to the radical left, as Bush wanted to OPEN the borders with Mexico before 9-11. Bush has made the democrats look conservative when it comes to his economic policies and spending.

6. Steve Boriss - 9/29/07

Richard, As you may know if you are a regular reader of this blog, I believe that news outlets ought to be free to express whatever opinions they like, battling it out in a future news marketplace of ideas. If CBS wants to accuse Bush of lying, I don’t have a problem with that, as long as they are honest that they are not an objective news source, as no news source can be, and acknowledge that others have a right to challenge their views. Obviously, there are people on the right and left who are very unhappy with Bush. That said, I also think that those who literally accuse people like Bush of “lying” put their own credibility at risk in a marketplace of ideas unless they provide credible evidence that he said things he knew not to be true for reasons that are logical. When such evidence and logic is not presented, they are vulnerable to being accused of being liars themselves. In any event, it is a healthy debate and I hope that in the future of news we have such debates.

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