CNN Buries Katie Couric Controversy, Stelter Plays Along

cnn_rs_deray_150524a1-800x430-696x374The folks at Newsbusters noticed something that your Cable Gamer pointed out Sunday:

Brad Wilmouth has the transcript to the Kurtz discussion, and makes the observation that while Reliable Sources didn’t have time to say anything about Couric’s dishonest edit, they did spend an entire segment speculating about what might happen when Rush Limbaugh’s radio contract expires. (Bottom line: we’ll see.) Earlier Curtis Houck did a piece establishing that the broadcast networks ignored the story after it broke, while on cable neither CNN nor MSNBC had given the story any coverage whatsoever (as of evening May 26th).

The Cable Gamer did a search of CNN’s very comprehensive transcript archive for the past week, and the name Couric came up zero times. Which suggests that as we near a full week since the story broke CNN has yet to air a single mention of it. If they aren’t out to bury the story, they’re giving a good imitation of it.

Meanwhile, Sunday’s Reliable Sources had time not just for the Rush speculative chit-chat, but also for the ever-popular discussion of how the Republican party is crypto-racist: built on “racial anxiety,” exploiting a “backlash to a black President” and a need for “restoring whites to a preferred position.” And mind you, that’s just from the host, Brian Stelter. His two guests formed a Reliable Sources fair and balanced panel: they both agreed that Republicans are riding the racism wave. If that seems like a familiar set-up then you must have been watching Reliable Sources last week, when another panel reviewed Megyn Kelly’s Fox special. How do you think that fair and balanced panel broke down? They gave Megyn two thumbs down. It’s like Keith Olbermann is booking Stelter’s guests.

None of this answers the question of why CNN has refused to air a report on this story for almost a week now , or why their media program avoided it too. (They did post an online report, but oddly it has received no on-air promotion.) One observer offered this reason for the broadcast blackout:

He may be on to something there. While there are zero mentions of Katie Couric in the transcript to Sunday’s Reliable, one name comes up 77 times: Trump!

UPDATE: As we published late Monday night CNN posted a follow-up Couric story online. The Cable Gamer will watch to see if the on-air blackout continues.

In the meantime, Betsy Rothstein writes:

Turns out that Zucker, the president of CNN Worldwide, ordered Stelter to not run any segment on Couric. After all, Zucker are Couric are old friends who worked together on NBC’s “TODAY Show.” Couric was a famed co-host and Zucker was executive producer. Zucker also produced Couric’s daytime talk show that tanked after two seasons.

It’s hard to blame Stelter for this one, but one would hope he at least pushed back.

The plot thickens.


  1. notfoxy

    In order for a media story to get coverage, it needs to be something people know and care about. Nobody is watching whatever crap Katie Couric is doing these days, and very few of them even know she works for Yahoo. The story is mostly that conservatives found out about the segment and made it a story in their media.


      • notfoxy

        Dan Rather has continued to be a cable news guest ever since he left CBS. I don’t think his occasional presence on CNN has any relevance to my point about Couric largely disappearing from the media’s and public’s imagination.


      • Sydney Bloom

        She just did a high-profile on-stage interview with Megyn Kelly. Reliable Sources found it newsworthy and discussed it. That was just a few months ago. She’s made more news lately than Dan Rather has.

        Anyway it looks like Jeff Zucker may be calling the shots on this; given his close Couric ties over the years that would explain a lot.


  2. notfoxy

    It looks like Rothstein did a “some guy told me” story, which you would laugh at if Gabriel Sherman did it. I stand by my thesis that the story didn’t get much mainstream coverage over the weekend because it had no traction outside of red blogs looking for a scalp. I personally never liked Couric and think the gun segment was pathetic, but I don’t buy that Stelter buried it for political reasons. He and Kurtz are both in a business that demands ratings, and they’re going to attempt to tailor media analysis shows towards stories people have at least a remote interest in. “Couric botches a story nobody saw” is not very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

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