In D.C., CBS Hands Out Couric Pamphlets Praising Michael J. Fox

February 14th, 2007 8:54 AM

Several MRC employees have encountered a new pamphlet on the subway system in the Washington D.C. area called the "CBS Evening News Report" with a big picture of Katie Couric on the cover. (It also promotes the local CBS news on Channel 9.) Inside the 14-page pamphlet are articles by Dr. Jonathan LaPook, Armen Keteyian, Byron Pitts, Steve Hartman, and Jim Axelrod.

But it's mostly promoting Katie. In the front, "A Word From Katie" carries the usual messages with exclamation points selling the magazine. "Hi everyone!...We hope it'll serve as an appetizer, and maybe entice you to try out the main course!...We'll do our best to keep you on track. Meantime, thanks for taking us along for the ride!" Showing the pamphlet's age, though, is a two-page article with Katie recounting her "remarkable conversation with a remarkable man," embryo-destruction spokesman Michael J. Fox -- in October.

Unlike her admission at the time, the pamphlet article makes no mention of how Couric has lent her celebrity to fundraisers for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, an obvious appearance of favoritism, or her father's struggle with Parkinson's disease. She used all the pro-Fox political spin, about how he supports Republicans, too, like liberal Arlen Specter, also an advocate for embryo-destroying research, and concluded:

"No matter how you feel about the issue of embryonic stem cell research, you can't help but be moved by Michael J. Fox's courage. I was touched by both his humility and his candor -- his willingness to appear so vulnerable on national television and to speak so openly about his own struggles with Parkinson's. At one point, as a result of all his involuntary movement, his microphone slipped off his lapel, and we had to pause so I could clip it back in place. None of that seemed to faze him. He didn't miss a beat.

"It ended up being a remarkable conversation with a remarkable man. I'm looking forward to bringing more interviews like this one to the CBS Evening News, allowing viewers to get a rare and revealing look at some of the newsmakers behind the news."

Couric is right that everyone can be moved by Michael J. Fox's courage through suffering. But that does not mean that Fox's ads for Democrats in 2006 were accurate or non-exploitative. Brent Baker's run-down of the October interview is here. Couric describing Rush Limbaugh's criticism of Fox as "heartless" is here.