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Ear to the Ground

Up for Debate

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Posted on Mar 25, 2008
Katie Couric
businessweek.com

With 20 debates between the Democratic candidates already in the books, and another scheduled before the Pennsylvania primary, it’s a little hard to believe that CBS News hasn’t yet had the opportunity to ask a few gotcha questions of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Katie Couric may just get the chance.

(h/t: The Page)


New York Times:

CBS has already failed to stage a presidential debate between the Democratic candidates, first because the candidates begged off, and then because the Hollywood writers’ strike derailed the network’s plans.

But the extended primary season has offered CBS another chance, and the network has been aggressively pursuing a debate. Ms. Couric herself has talked to both campaigns, a CBS executive said.

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By Typical White Person, March 27, 2008 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

I was also very impressed with her. It might have been the tone in which I read it. but then you resort to names.

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By cyrena, March 26, 2008 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

Louise…yet ANOTHER delight from your post. (I say delight because you’re also so on point, and so easily understood. Not a wasted word).

So, thanks for describing Gwen’s qualifications. I guess I didn’t because well..I just ASSUMED that it would be OBVIOUS how much more qualified she is than Katie Couric, for such an assignment). And beyond those obvious qualifications, you really hit the number one in my own book.

•  “…And the best credential of all ... corporate America doesn’t own her!”

Now THAT’S the best credential!!

She calls to mind another of my heroines, Shirley Chisholm, when she said “I cannot be bought, and I will not be bullied.” (that could be a word or two off..but it’s close).

On the debate with Katie, I hadn’t thought about the fact that her moderating (or question asking) might be kind of fun to watch, because I hadn’t considered the fact that she would be forced to read from a script (that she had no part in coming up with, because she couldn’t) and anything that goes off of that of course, could be interesting. Surely it could get away from her easily enough. So, it would depend on how much of a break the candidates are willing to give her.

On this..I’ve been pondering myself:

•  “Given the few narrow minded racist hate monger, Obama attackers who try to dominate this web-site. And given they all do it while pretending they do it because they love Hillary, I suppose he/she can be forgiven for believing they are in any way typical.”

Have you noticed that there are so many MORE of them lately? Or, is it my imagination? What’s even more curious for me, is that while you suggest that they ALL do it while pretending they do it because they love Hillary, I’ve discovered among the more recent Obama attackers, that they don’t even PRETEND THAT!

I even asked one of them yesterday or today, WHO he/she actually SUPPORTED, because it wasn’t evident. There was nothing in the post, or in any of multiple previous posts, (and regardless of the thread topic) that would give anyone a clue that they actually supported Hillary. Rather, the ONLY objective of all of their posts, is to bash and smear Barack Obama!

Even those who started out with the ostensible justification of ‘defending’ Hillary, like Chalmers and Maani, and a few others, have since abandoned the pretext. From time to time, they’ll realize it, (like Maani) and attempt to reign themselves back in, with transparent comments like, “Oh no…I don’t HATE Obama; I actually kind of like the guy.” Uh huh…right.  But overall, it’s all just an Obama smashing parade that has since lost any possible veneer of doing any sincere championing for Hillary.
Besides that, they don’t even bother to keep the insults just directed at Obama. It includes anyone who won’t be taken in (or bullied) by the hate hype. Then we are attacked , as irrational, delusional, in denial members of the ‘Obama cult’ or an Obamamaniac, or something else along those veins.

And yes, they’ve begun to dominate the site, and I’m not quite sure WHY, because if in fact they were all that supportive of Clinton, I’m positive there are other sites where they could share their enthusiasm for her.

So, I’m not sure what’s up with that, and while it’s obvious that they are NOT ‘typical’ and that fortunately, most of us DO know better, it still troubles me. Admittedly there was a time, (albeit decades ago) when I made the other rather naïve assumption that these small-minded pin-heads with pea brains would simply die off. But I was, as I say, naïve. I’ve come to realize that these narrow minds, are recycled through generations, and especially for those who’ve not been exposed to much of anything else, despite what communications’ technology has provided.

Fortunately though, progress happens in spite of them.

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By Pacrat, March 26, 2008 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Will Katy put aside her cutesy facade and ask Hillary and Barry grown up questions that everyone has avoided up til now? Like:

What are your plans to restore Iraq to some sort of dignified and human existence since the Bush war virtually destroyed the country and its people?

How will you restore fiscal responsibility to our country? When will you increases taxes and rescind tax breaks for Bush’s friends?

While campaign promises and plans are mostly just empty rhetoric, how do you truly plan and how soon will you implment a plan to restore contsitutional rights in our country? Please attach workplans, timelines and deliverables.

Will you permit Congress and the Supreme Court to function again as equal partners to the Administration?

Will you appoint mature and competent non-partisan members to your Cabinet?

Etc. - Etc. - Let’s hope that you don’t do the usual smiley and dimply thing as you ask the questions.

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By Louise, March 26, 2008 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

Katie will have the benefit of good writers who will outline good questions. The problem is the “anchors” always have a need to slide in an innuendo [that pathetic ego thing] which immediately requires the candidate either give a different answer demanded by the shift to a prejudice, or a bogus issue, or try to answer in anticipation of the other guys answer. Which is why I gave up watching “debates” ages ago. So totally bogus!

However, this one may be fun to watch. Since Katie’s not to swift on the uptake, she’ll have to rely on writers to script her innuendos, and may find herself completely unable to guide further debate on any unscripted response that might come up. That’s the problem with news as entertainment. The brain factor is missing. And just in case people who are bothered by Katie’s version of reporting news cant quite put their finger on what bothers them ... that’s it. Anyone can read a script. Darn few can ad-lib intelligently.

But then I could be wrong. Reading between the lines, perhaps this debate is McManus’s hope to finally give Katie credentials.

I agree though. Gwen Ifill would make the debate worth watching. Like most PBS anchors she’s thoughtful, intelligent, informed and heads above even the candidates, with her knowledge of current issues, facts and events. And the best credential of all ... corporate America doesn’t own her!

But there will always be that tiny minority that can only see Ifill’s color. A handicap that prevents them from hearing or learning anything.

If someone happens to be a small minded non-typical racist white person with an honest bone in his/her body and that someone really believes they support Clinton. That would be the only reason. Hillary’s the “right” color.

And speaking of non-typical white persons. That must be a small circle ‘typical white person’ moves in, since he/she views him/herself as a typical. Thank goodness he/she isn’t. And if he/she got out more, he/she’d realize racial prejudice is rapidly becoming the smelly small exception. Hardly the typical norm. Certainly nothing anyone with self-respect would want others to see them as.

But as long as there are people with small minds and candidates and politico pundits who gravitate to the small mind, there will always be people with tiny egos pumping themselves up by telling themselves they are typical.

Given the few narrow minded racist hate monger, Obama attackers who try to dominate this web-site. And given they all do it while pretending they do it because they love Hillary, I suppose he/she can be forgiven for believing they are in any way typical.

Fortunately, most of us know better.

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By ashley, March 26, 2008 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Once again, the mainstream media continues to find ways to detract from both the content and the importance of the selection of the Democratic election and the upcoming Presidential election. Sure, everything seems wonderful when the major networks share and everyone gets a piece of the viewership pie for debate coverage. Look at the competition and the money involved to broadcast a SuperBowl, and I would like to think that the selection of our nation’s leader is just a smidgen more important. However, the article notes that not only are primary debates not extremely popular with the national audience, but that one of the reasons CBS has yet to participate is primarily due to the writers strike, which unfortunately doesn’t assure them that there are opportunities to regain. But like any other program on television, not every network gets an equal opportunity to have the highest ratings, or even viewership, for news programs, sitcoms, or any other type of program.

CBS’ failures with Katie Couric as an anchor has absolutely nothing to do with the debates, candidates, or the election. The fact that she will become part of this spiraling media storm should not be the issue we are focusing on. In fact, maybe it has been a good thing for the American public to focus on the actual positioning of the candidates and the issues at hand rather that pick apart the one who is broadcasting the debate. In selecting her to represent their news program, CBS obviously has turned away from their primarily responsibility to inform the public, looking only to gain viewers from the previous popularity of Couric on NBC. Obviously this has not paid off…so with all these things considered, why does CBS feel like they are owed a chance to air a debate?

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By cyrena, March 26, 2008 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

Gwen has excellant qualifications if only because hers is a more independant, (and therefore non-partisan) platform.

But, you needn’t take my word for it. She moderated the debates back during the 2004 election, and I was very impressed. (none of the candidates were black by the way).

I had not really followed her up to that point, so for me, she was I new face, though I know that she’s been a journalist and correspondent for quite some time.

At any rate, I was impressed.

And YOU…are sounding less and less like a ‘typical’ white person, (because I know and love many) and more and more like a typical racist.

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By Craig, March 26, 2008 at 11:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Since there have been so many debates and since the candidates are rolling in dough, mostly Internet money, wouldn’t it be amazing if the media gave the candidates a few questions and asked them to do 5 or 10 minute responses in the form of a video. The production costs wouldn’t be prohibitive and it might stroke more interest in our bland political culture.

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By Typical White Person, March 26, 2008 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

“Now maybe if they got Gwen Ifill to moderate the debate, I’d watch it. Otherwise…CBS isn’t likely to improve their ratings with this” sounds racist to me. She would do better because she is black, so she would know what questions to ask Obama, I’m not for nose in the air Katie either. Sounds like to me , you would rather have Gwen because she is black, you didn’t state her qualifications to be better than Katie.

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By Greg Bacon, March 26, 2008 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

If Katie Couric is a journalist, then I’m Eric Clapton.

Cute Katie wouldn’t know a news story if it hit her BOTOX’d face.

As for CBS?

CBS stands for Certified Bull Sh*t.

Bring back Walter Cronkite!

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By Gary Sargent, March 26, 2008 at 6:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I ask (with tongue in cheek) “How does a strike by script writers interfere with holding a debate?”

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By Aegrus, March 26, 2008 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

You’re supposed to look at how short Katie’s skirt is, cyrena. That and make jokes like you’re at some blue-blood’s wine tasting.

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By Trigger finger, March 26, 2008 at 5:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve got a question Katie could ask each of them.

Hillary. You seem to be putting on a little weight. Now does Bill sleep in the buff, or in your tights?

Obama.  You look all buffed up, so I know you must sleep in the buff! Right?

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By cyrena, March 25, 2008 at 11:50 pm Link to this comment

From the linked article NYT:

•  “The network’s news division could certainly use them. The “CBS Evening News” is in last place in the network newscast competition every week, despite the addition of the most prominent name in contemporary television news, Katie Couric, to its anchor desk in 2006.”

Too bad CBS hasn’t appeared to figure out that THIS might be the reason the “Evening News” is in last place…Katie Couric.

Now for stuff other than ‘news’ I like CBS. (for the rare times I indulge in TV..it’s CBS that I watch).

But nope…not their news, and ESPECIALLY not Katie Couric.

Now maybe if they got Gwen Ifill to moderate the debate, I’d watch it. Otherwise…CBS isn’t likely to improve their ratings with this.

Besides, Hillary can manage to lie fine without an organized platform, and I already know what Obama’s agenda is.

Come on…there have been 20 of these things.
The only thing Katie is gonna manage to do is stir up more shit, when there are better things to do with the time.

Seriously, when have we EVER heard Katie Couric discuss any REAL issues? Never…

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