To hear the mainstream media tell it, Katie Couric will be the savior of CBS News. She’s perky, blonde — and getting blonder by the day. She is widely portrayed as a tough interviewer who manages to exude the sweetness of an Iowa poultry queen. The CBS Evening News — which is consistently dead-last in the ratings, welcomes her as a breath of fresh air — the type of lady who can attract the under 35 crowd — even though she herself is pushing 50.
But it will take more than a Colgate smile and a cheerleader personality to rescue network news, which seems to specialize in bashing anyone considered patriotic, pro-military, or anywhere to the right of Ted Kennedy. It’s no accident that, during that dark period of American history between the two Presidents Bush, many ordinary Americans referred to CBS as the Clinton Broadcasting System.
It wasn’t so long ago that robotic anchorman Dan Rather had to step aside amid the shame of circulating phony documents attacking the credibility of the leader of the Free World. I have never heard a single person complaining about missing Rather and his routine attacks on Republicans.
Broadcast journalists such as Katie Couric feign concern for the poor and downtrodden, even as they line their personal bank accounts with millions. As a viewer, you wonder sometimes if they care at all about slandering an honorable American such as Congressman Tom DeLay since, at the end of the day, they can simply return to their penthouse apartments and gated communities and not have to deal with the hardships in life faced by average Americans.
Long ago, viewers tuned out and turned off the nightly news. I don’t believe that these former viewers abandoned their interest in civic affairs. I simply know too many baseball dads and soccer moms who are heavily involved in their communities and care deeply about what happens to America. And certainly in the wake of 9/11, people are aware of the fact that the troubled people in a distant land can wreak havoc on the American way of life.
People abandoned network news because network news abandoned them. Sure, the networks can try gimmicks to lure viewers back — such as solo female anchors, letting viewers vote for the stories they want to see, and hiring heartthrobs as national correspondents. But that’s all just window-dressing.
What the nightly news really needs is a dose of reality. It should be produced by people who live in the real world — the world of ten-year-old cars, monstrous medical bills, and coupon-clipping. The newscast needs to reflect the world that we actually live in — not the conservative hellhole envisioned by Barbra Streisand and the rest of the liberal crowd.
Network news should employ people of real diversity — and that would include people with conservative viewpoints. After all, conservatives lead many of our state legislatures, our businesses, and our athletic teams. Wouldn’t it make sense for conservatives to be present in newsrooms as well?
The advent of cable and the ascension of Fox News have permitted viewers to see current events from a different perspective — one not colored by left-wing propaganda. After seeing a bit of fair and balanced coverage, many viewers probably decide they simply don’t want to go back to network-style nonsense.
It will take more than a pretty face for an effective makeover at CBS News. It will also take a dedication to the pursuit of the truth, and a willingness to accept the fact that — believe it or not — most Americans love America and don’t want to see their President, Generals, and religious leaders routinely mocked on the small screen.