As Katie Couric departed the Today show after 15 years Wednesday with hours of misty, watercolor memories, it's quite obvious that CBS knew it was not only getting one of America's most famous journalists, but also one of America's most liberal ones. In the weeks since Couric announced her CBS move on April 5, she has seemed especially outspoken.
She told Ted Kennedy his goal of government-mandated health coverage was a "noble goal"; swooned over Helen Reddy's feminist anthem "I Am Woman" and oozed over how it shaped her; insisted that teaching tolerance of homosexuality should be done at an early age; and promoted Al Gore's direst ice-cap-melting predictions: "Even Manhattan would be in deep water, right?"
To mark Couric's NBC career, here's a very brief listing of some of Katie's dramatic liberal bias, going all the way back to 1991. (See more at www.mrc.org.)
■ On November 13, 1991, Couric asked Jimmy 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?"
■ On August 24, 1992, after the Republican convention, Katie asked Hillary Clinton: "Do you think the American people are not ready for someone who is as accomplished and career-oriented as Hillary Clinton?"
■ On May 24, 1993, Couric sympathized with liberal New Jersey Gov. Jim Florio over his GOP opponent criticizing him for raising taxes: "Are you afraid your politically courageous moves are, in fact, going to cost you the election?"
■ On May 5, 1995, Katie broadcast one of a series of promotional announcements for European socialism over the years: "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."
■ On June 29, 1999, she pushed hard for a prescription-drug subsidy for Medicare recipients to a drug company spokesman: "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?"
■ On April 5, 2004, she worried about how Iraq has fallen apart compared to the placid days of Saddam Hussein in a question to John McCain: "[N]o matter how deplorable Saddam Hussein was considered, he was the ultimate referee who kept the Sunnis and the Shiites apart from killing each other."
■ On July 21, 2005, she asked scandal-plagued Bill Clinton to pose as an ethics expert and judge Team Bush: "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 dismissal?"
■ On October 4, 2005, Couric broke out the Europe envy again, asking Diane Debrovner of Parents magazine: "This country is pretty far behind in providing really superior child care for working parents, right?" Dan Rather might end up looking like a weak sister next to Couric's liberal bias in the anchor chair.
- Tim Graham