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Was It Really RBG That Katie Couric Was Protecting?
One of the stunning revelations to come out of Katie Couric's new tell-all memoir is that in 2016, the media personality edited out what she deemed to be disparaging remarks from an interview she had conducted with Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Ginsburg's comments revolved around NFL player Colin Kaepernick and other athletes who were kneeling during the national anthem, before games. They did so in protest against racial injustice, an issue the political left has long been sympathetic to. The kneeling was a big, controversial story at the time, and Couric apparently expected the famously liberal Supreme Court Justice to voice a different opinion on the topic than the one she put forth.
Ginsburg told Couric that she personally disapproved of what the players were doing, and that she believed they were demonstrating "contempt for the government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life."
Couric, like many lefties, was a big fan of Ginsburg, and she says in her book that she was "conflicted" about the comments because she was worried they would stain Ginsburg's legacy. Couric believed RBG's stated view was "unworthy of a crusader for equality," and also considered that Ginsburg may not have completely understood the question.
According to Couric, she wasn't the only person with reservations. She says she soon received an email from the head of SCOTUS public affairs, saying that Ginsburg had "misspoken," and asking that the justice's thoughts on Kaepernick be removed from Couric's story. (It's unclear whether or not Couric initiated that exchange.)
After much deliberation and advice from colleagues, Couric ultimately omitted the sentence from the piece she submitted to Yahoo! News. The reason for the omission, says Couric, was to "protect" Ginsburg.
And some people wonder why so many Americans have a dirt-low opinion of the mainstream media.
A big part of the problem, of course, was Couric's blatant disregard for journalistic ethics. This was a high-profile interview with a high-profile public servant, and Couric let her personal bias prevent her from publicly airing a highly compelling quote.
In response to the revelation, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman wasted no time in calling Couric out, tweeting "This is toxic on a lot of levels."
Reporter Ben Jacobs took a more sarcastic approach, tweeting, "I too always like to omit the most newsworthy and interesting parts from all my interviews with important and powerful people."
Many others in the profession, from both the liberal and conservative media, have since weighed in with similar thoughts. The broad journalistic consensus is that Couric really screwed up. And that, of course, is the correct consensus.
But the other important part of this story, that's been largely overlooked, is something that former New York Times journalist Bari Weiss pointed out: "You can learn a lot about where the left has moved by looking at how they choose to edit or rewrite RBG."
I can't read Couric's mind, of course, but I have a very hard time buying that she did what she did primarily for Ginsburg's benefit. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is nothing short of a super-hero to the American left — a genuine cultural icon who had been (and still is) celebrated almost to the heights of folklore. If you don't believe me, do a Google search on "Notorious RBG" or "RBG art".
Ginsburg's views on racial justice were quite clear, and she wasn't one to be offended by peaceful protests aimed at advancing the cause. Would her public distaste for Kaepernick's particular method of protest — a method she saw as disrespectful and unappreciative of the opportunities America grants its citizens — place her legacy in jeopardy? Of course not, and Couric is smart enough to have known that.
I think there's a good chance that this was more about protecting progressives in the ever popular blame-America-first crowd... from RBG.
I mean, it's one thing for Republicans and people in the right-wing media to carry on and on about how outrageous the left's "America-bashing" has become. It's entirely different when a prominent, life-long champion of liberal causes embarrassingly agrees with them. When something like that happens, a little ideological self-reflection might actually be in order.
And who wants that, right?
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