Saturday, October 28, 2006

No more 'love' for Miss Couric

Okay -- it's finally happened.
I always knew that I didn't particularly LOVE Katie Couric. But I wasn't sure why. Maybe it was because she was too peppy. Maybe it was because she seemed to try too hard to be young, hip and trendy. Or maybe it was because during several interviews, I witnessed her turn on perfectly well-behaved sources, and "rip into them like a monkey on a cupcake."
But yesterday, I was reading the wire (an occupational hazzard of mine) and came across a story about an interview she did this week with Michael J. Fox. Fox was going on about stem cell research and how much he supports polititians who support this type of research, even though he "doesn't care about politics."
At the end of the interview, Katie apparently felt the need to inform the TV audience that her father has Parkinson's Disease and that she has made financial contributions to Fox's foundation for research.
Um. Hello? Hi! Welcome to Journalism 101. I shouldn't KNOW what causes you support or don't support! And quite frankly, if you are financially involved with your source, you should probably be the LAST person interviewing this particular person!!
Whatever happened to non-biased, uninvolved, third-party journalism? Couric has always bugged me because I know EXACTLY where she stands on way more issues than I care to count. There are some extremist journlists who think that voting should be off-limits to us, as a group. Now, while I certainly don't skew that rigid in my beliefs, I nonetheless must stand up for my belief that a viewer should have a HARD time figuring out where reporters and journlaists stand on the issues they present. Because, quite frankly, it's not about US. It's not about the writer or the reporter or the journalist. It's about the story and the different players in it. It's about presenting each side fairly, whether you like it or not.
End of rant. I'm sorry Katie, but I just don't think this is going to work out anymore. I've lost all respect for you. Please don't take it personally.


croust said...

Y'know, after living in Europe for a year, this hangup about objective journalism seems to me kind of funny and particularly American (even if most news outlets seem to be less and less non-biased, Fox News for example).

In Europe, particularly in France, most of the media outlets have pretty well-defined political stances. Among the TV networks, for example, TF1 is pretty far to the right (in line with Chirac's government), Fr2 and Fr3 are moderate conservatives, and M6 is more closely tied to the Socialists. When it comes to newspapers, the politics are even more closely defined. (Except for Le Monde, which aims for a balance of leftist and rightist opinions.)

So, I guess, I put this up for debate. What's wrong with reporters and media outlets expressing their convictions? They already are tacitly expressing their political opinions based on selection and placement of stories, while explicitly endorsing candidates during election season.

Is it even possible to honestly do uninvolved third-party journalism?

(That said, while I agree with Couric's opinion, I don't like how she brought it into the interview. Tell us up front, not at the end--"Oh, by the way, I'm as good a person as him because we support the same cause.")

Katrina said...

I see your point, but in my opinion, it is indeed possible to do a nonbiased story -- but if you spend a good portion of your time letting people know exactly where you stand on issues, how can readers/viewers etc. expect a nonbiased interview? To me, it shoots your credibility right out the window. After all, if you're interviewing someone for a cause you deeply belive in and financially support, will you push the limits and get all the facts, even if they are unfavorable? Will the really tough questions get asked? They might. But then again, they might not. :)