I STILL REMEMBER AN INDEPENDENT PRESS
Whatever. As you might guess, I couldn't give a shit whether Couric actually "wrote" whatever puffery she blew into America's homes that evening. And even though I'm a tad curious how she cribbed from The Journal, of all sources, for that "Notebook" entry about library cards, I'm not that curious.
Nah. What's interesting to me hear is that someone else got canned because of this: the segment producer. And also of note is the bullshit-filled statement of CBS News "spokeswoman" Sandy Genelius:
Even though Couric "had no comment of her own" on the episode, and despite the fact that she "did not compose the [first person POV] piece herself and was unaware that much of it was plagiarized," she was nonetheless "stunned, and very upset."I'm sure she's deeply traumatized. Perhaps a press conference? A stint in rehab for the folks at The Journal who outed her? An apology?
You know, it's funny. In America today, we live under a de facto policy of false contrition for every verbal misstep. No matter how banal the issue, if someone says something "unacceptable" -- to right, left, male, female, rich, poor, black & white -- he must publically ask for absolution. Then the sin is wiped from the slate.
But the consequences of real actions -- whether dishonsty, disloyalty, incompetence, dereliction of duty, or dozens of others -- are treated as if they're not that big a deal. I don't get it.
Couric is supposed to be a journalist. She went on the air, speaking in the first person about her experiences. Hard news? No. But that's of little consequence here. Truth in what she says is the entirety of her value. She's not an analyst. She does none of her own investigations. She reads the fucking news! All anyone needs from her is to tell the truth. Nothing more.
Yet, she made up the whole story, and even worse, it seems that she copied the work of another to do so. And the upshot of this?
Someone else gets fired, and then she has someone else speak on her behalf about how shocked she is by the whole episode. In other words, get someone else to lie about her lie. Unbelievable.
I'm reminded of the scene in James Brooks' 1987 vehicle, Broadcast News, where Holly Hunter's Jane tells William Hurt's Tom that he "totally crossed the line" between ethical and unethical reporting when he faked tears at the end of a news piece. "It's hard not to cross it," Tom protested, "They keep moving the little sucker, don't they?"
Yes, the line keeps moving. But the "they" in question are the press themselves. They just keep moving that line, and one of these days it'll be so far off we won't even be able to see it.
Labels: The Fourth Estate Is For Sale