Couric Campaigns for Papillomavirus Vaccination

February 2nd, 2007 6:21 AM

How can Katie Couric claim to keep her politics our of her work when she offers up her own editorial positions on a variety of subjects? She does so in the course of her "Katie Couric's Notebook" segments. It's true that Katie normally avoids the controversial. On January 16th, for example, she took a bold stand against procrastination. And when she did address abortion on January 22nd, she played it largely down the middle -- though pro-lifers might argue that her mention of the way the issue has sparked violence ignores the daily violence of abortion itself.

But at times Couric takes positions on hot issues of the day, such as on January 12th when she expressed the hope that the Gitmo prison "is closed down soon." On January 26th, Couric came out for "breaking our addiction to oil." Or how about this one, in which, incredibly, Couric argued in favor of congressional earmarks!

Then yesterday, in a segment modestly entitled "Saving our Daughters" Couric came out for universal vaccination for the human papillomavirus, HPV, for girls. This is a highly-controversial issue. Many traditionalists are strongly opposed to mandatory vaccinations for girls as young as 11. For example, take this column on the subject from the Independent Women's Forum in which the author writes:

The latest from an immunization panel affiliated with the National Centers for Disease Control: force every single little girl, female teenager, and young woman in the country to be vaccinated against cervical cancer--actually against sexually transmitted disease that can cause cancer.

Here’s the New York Times report:

"The vote all but commits the federal government to spend as much as $2 billion alone on a program to buy the vaccine for the nation’s poorest girls from 11 to 18.

"The vaccine, Gardasil, protects against cancer and genital warts by preventing infection from four strains of the human papillomavirus, the most common sexually transmitted disease, according to federal health officials. The virus is also a cause of other cancers in women."

If you think 11 sounds young for sex, how about age 9--the recommended age in some cases?

But there are a few hitches--such as parents who, uh, balk at the idea of telling prepubescent girls that it’s just fine for them to have all the sex they want, ’cuz now they’ll be vaccinated! And isn’t it against the law to have sex with children?

Whatever your views on this particular issue, don't we have reason to suspect Couric will tailor her treatment when covering candidates who favor -- or oppose -- her position? To use a time-honored Couric trope, I suppose "some might say" it's better to have Katie put her politics out there. In any case, looking at the body of her "Notebook" work, and however she might strive for a moderate tone, it's hard to see Katie other than as a predictable liberal MSM voice

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