Reality Check: Katie Couric's Five Years at CBS Marked by Liberal Agenda and Low Ratings

May 18th, 2011 9:50 AM

Tomorrow marks Katie Couric’s last night at the anchor desk of the CBS Evening News. Five years ago, CBS executives were so excited about the Today show star taking over, her September 5, 2006 debut was preceded by a massive publicity campaign. Outgoing interim anchor Bob Schieffer vouched for his replacement: “She’s tough, she’s fair, she’s a straight shooter....Just watch.”  Long-retired anchorman Walter Cronkite even lent his voice to a new opening segment, announcing: “This is the CBS Evening News, with Katie Couric.”

Intrigued by the publicity, more than 13 million Americans tuned into that first night, according to Nielsen research, but Couric’s honeymoon was brief. CBS had been in third place for years under Dan Rather and Schieffer, but the slide worsened after Couric took over. By August 2010, the CBS Evening News was recording its lowest ratings ever — fewer than 5 million viewers. (A review of Couric's worst bias, with video, after the jump.)

Under Dan Rather, the CBS Evening News was the poster-child of liberal media bias, with the broadcast’s reputation suffering its worst hit after Rather’s almost-comical attempt to sabotage President Bush’s 2004 re-election. Couric’s years at NBC’s Today, however, were marked by a similar liberal tilt that made her a questionable choice to rebuild the damaged network. In the end, the reputed $15 million per year that CBS spent on its new star was just money down the drain.

For a flavor of the liberal agenda that marked Couric’s tenure at CBS News, the Media Research Center has assembled, in no particular order, ten of her most biased moments, showcasing her infatuation with liberal politicians and her chirpy promotion of left-wing policies: 



Katie Shakes Her Pom-Poms for Obama’s “Dream Team”

“You’re so confident, Mr. President, and so focused. Is your confidence ever shaken? Do you ever wake up and say, ‘Damn, this is hard. Damn, I’m not going to get the things done I want to get done, and it’s just too politicized to really get accomplished the big things I want to accomplish’?”
— Couric in an exchange with Obama shown on CBS’s The Early Show, July 22, 2009. [Video/audio (0:22): WMV | MP3]    

“The ‘Dream Team’ pushing Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic summer games is nearly complete. First Lady Michelle Obama landed today in Denmark where Olympic officials are meeting....The team captain, meanwhile, President Obama, arrives Friday ahead of the final vote.”
— Couric on the September 30, 2009 CBS Evening News. [Video/audio (0:22): WMV | MP3]


Giggling with Nancy Pelosi, Scolding John Boehner

Couric: “One of the key players in getting this deal approved is the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. I talked to her this afternoon as Senate negotiators were announcing the agreement and we spoke right after she had been on the phone with the President. [to Pelosi] Are you surprised how intimately involved he is in the whole process?”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Quite frankly, yes. I said, ‘Mr. President, neither of us has time for this conversation, especially you,’ because we really, we understand each other. We know where we need to go.”
Couric, smiling: “Can you tell us anything he said to you, like, ‘Get cracking’?”
Pelosi, laughing: “No, never that. We’re always cracking.”
Evening News, February 11, 2009. [Video/audio (0:31): WMV | MP3]


“A recent CBS News poll shows that 53 percent of the American people fully backs the stimulus package, 63 percent of people we polled thought the Republican opposition to the stimulus package was for political reasons. So, are you out of touch with the American people?...Do you think the Republicans are digging themselves in a hole by not being more supportive of the President’s proposals?”
— Couric interviewing Republican House Leader John Boehner on the February 24, 2009 Evening News. [Video/audio (0:24): WMV | MP3]


ObamaCare Can’t Come Soon Enough


“More than 46 million Americans have no health insurance. So when it comes to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and good health, all men are not created equal.”
— Couric on the March 12, 2007 Evening News. [Video/audio (0:09): WMV | MP3]

“I think providing health care for people who can’t afford it is something that most people do agree with — that there has to be some kind of alternative other than our national, our nation's emergency rooms for people who need health care. And I read somewhere — I think it was in The New Yorker — that 45,000 people died needlessly because they simply don’t have access to health care, and that just seems so unfair and so undemocratic.”
— Couric in a December 22, 2009 Facebook video chat. The statistic Couric cited, which she also touted on the September 17, 2009 Evening News, was generated by the left-wing Physicians for a National Health Program. [Video/audio (0:51): WMV | MP3]



Praising the Great ‘Goreacle’

“Also in Washington today, a lot of excitement on Capitol Hill. A movie star showed up to testify before Congress – a movie star named Al Gore.”
Evening News, March, 21, 2007. [Video/audio (0:13): WMV | MP3]
“He was once called ‘Mr. Stiff.’ Now he’s known as ‘The Goreacle,’ the new Al Gore....Sharyn Alfonsi reports on Gore 2.0.”
Evening News, May 25, 2007. [Video/audio (0:13): WMV | MP3]

“I’m honored to be joined today by the Godfather of Green, the King of Conservation, former Vice President Al Gore.”
— Couric opening her November 2, 2009 “@KatieCouric” webcast. [Video/audio (0:24): WMV | MP3]


Maybe We Need a Muslim Cosby Show

“The bigotry expressed against Muslims in this country has been one of the most disturbing stories to surface this year.... Maybe we need a Muslim version of The Cosby Show. I know that sounds crazy, I know that sounds crazy, but The Cosby Show did so much to change attitudes about African-Americans in this country, and I think sometimes people are afraid of what they don’t understand.”
— Couric talking to comedian Mo Rocca on her @KatieCouric Web show, December 22, 2010. [Video/audio (1:02): WMV | MP3]

“Who Made Us the Boss of Them?”

Couric: “[Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice] rejects the notion that the U.S. is a bully, imposing its values on the world.”
Condoleezza Rice: “What’s wrong with assistance so that people can have their full and complete right to the very liberties and freedoms that we enjoy?”
Couric to Rice: “To quote my daughter, ‘Who made us the boss of them?’”
60 Minutes, September 24, 2006. [Video/audio (0:27): WMV | MP3]

For many more examples of Couric’s bias at CBS, please visit MRC’s freshly-updated “Profile in Bias” page: “Perking Up for Liberal Spin.”

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