CBS News Gets Snippy When Fact Checked
This MoveOn.org Video on Katie Couric and CBS News’ repetition of Bush Administration talking points and lack of critical reporting has stirred up quite the hornet’s nest at CBS. We posted this over the weekend, along with a number of other folks, including: KagroX at DKos; Nicole at Crooks and Liars; the folks at Brave New Films; and PoliticsTV.
A MoveOn.org member wrote CBS a polite note, criticizing the lack of skeptical reporting and the softball questions. Here is that e-mail:
From: [MoveOn member]
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2007 12:42 PM
To: CBS Evening News
Subject: Couric report from Iraq an embarassment to journalists everywhere
I started watching Couric’s series of reports hoping to learn something valuable. All I learned was that CBS is content to produce puff pieces scripted by the institutions it purports to be investigating.
I did not hear Couric push for real answers on one single issue! She simply took everything she was told and parrotted it back to the masses.
I’m embarassed and saddened. You should be too.
CBS’ response? Take a look:
From: CBS Evening News < Evening@cbsnews.com>
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2007 11:45:01 AM
Subject: RE: Couric report from Iraq an embarassment to journalists everywhere
Actually most intelligent people were very impressed by the quality of our reports from Iraq and Syria …Apparently you missed most of the interviews that were done over there…imagine you got your information from a blog somewhere… (emphasis mine)
Oh, I get it. Legitimate criticism from viewers can simply be ignored if you dismiss it as coming from a blog. But not asking the critical questions, repeating talking points wholesale, failing to follow-up when you are being snowed and charmed, and buying military spin outright while feeding it by the spoonful to your adoring public is just peachy? So much for the whole “journalistic integrity” canard. And the tanking ratings.
The two senior producers at CBS Evening News are Jim McGlinchy (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Betty Chin ( email@example.com). I’m working on e-mails to both them asking whether (a) this is the usual response of CBS to legitimate viewer criticism and (b) whether they would officially like to disavow this sort of customer non-service. I’ll certainly let you know what, if any, response I get. No matter how snippy the response may be, the dodge and weave on the real issues on journalistic integrity come across loud and clear. Perhaps they should hear from you as well?