Couric, Graner and the People’s Choice Awards

In a post titled, “Can’t They Find One Person For The Job Who Doesn’t Hate Republicans?” Lorie Byrd at PoliPundit writes, “If CBS is seriously considering Katie Couric for their top anchor job, they are even more clueless about their own bias than I thought. And I didn’t think that was possible.”

Why Byrd thinks, or how she knows, that Couric “hates Republicans” is not explained, which caught Jesse Taylor’s attention on Pandagon. “I’m not a particularly big fan of Couric (she’s attained almost Oprah-esque levels of fanaticism from her fans, and it’s kinda scary), but is she actually that liberal?” Taylor visited the right-wing Media Research Center headed by Brent Bozell to check out its takedown of the so-called liberal Couric and was unconvinced. After tearing down the Media Research Center’s report piece by piece, Taylor concludes, “I could go on, but the evidentiary list keeps breaking down along the same lines — Couric’s sin is asking Republicans to respond to things around them, rather than keeping them in the hermetically-sealed sphere of feeding Susan Estrich and Alan Colmes into the maw of an ever-fattening beast of indolent conservatism.”

While the liberal blogosphere has been buzzing over various passages in the Washington Post’s interview with President Bush, The New Republic’s Specker Ackerman suggests everyone take a look at a different exchange — the The New York Timesinterview with Army Lieutenant General John R. Vines. Vines will be taking over as commander of ground troops in Iraq after the January 30 elections. Based on the interview Ackerman believes Vines is “an excellent choice for a tremendously difficult mission.” Vines told the Times that general security is a top priority and that the 150,000 American troops in Iraq can not defeat the insurgency alone, and thus, as Ackerman writes, “more rapid Iraqification is necessary.”

Even more importantly, Ackerman copies a passage from the interview in which Vines admits that the U.S. “won’t dictate the terms of when we will draw down. Mutual assent is the mechanism.” “Wow,” Ackerman comments, “Never before has an American military commander — or civilian official, for that matter — stated so bluntly that the future course of the occupation will be determined in Baghdad and not in Washington.”

As for Iraq,’s Mark Kilmer has a post on a recent Associated Press article gauging Iraqi reaction to the 10-year prison sentence Army Specialist Charles Graner received for his crimes at Abu Ghraib prison. The Iraqis interviewed thought the punishment to be to light, and would have preferred a trial in Iraq that resulted in Graner being sentenced to death. Kilmer thinks that this narrative “fits perfectly the MSM model, that America is a holier-than-thou fraud. It is reported with relish, yet it is so patently untrue that its constant repetition is disgraceful.” After implying that he doesn’t believe that Iraqis want Graner’s head, Kilmer then reverses course and tries to explain why Iraqis want Graner’s head: “Why the calls for Graner’s execution? I think decades under the thumb of Saddam Hussein have skewed their sense of just punishment. Remember, they are used to jaywalkers being stuffed into large paper shredders.”

Finally, we succumb to the pop culture award fever, in the form of a Mystery Pollster post exposing the fraud behind the People’s Choice Awards. In short, the PCA are not conducted like the political polls we so closely followed during the campaign. Rather, the PCA are based on Internet polling, which can be vulnerable to various attempts to stack the vote, and thus it is wildly wrong to “project” the results onto the general American population. Few people understand this, however, and the media often portray the results inaccurately. Mystery Pollster points to a “CBS Evening News” interview conducted by Sandra Hughes with Michael Moore, whose film Fahrenheit 9/11 won favorite film:

[Hughes:] Filmmaker Michael Moore says the win may be just what he needs to convince Academy Awards voters. [Moore:] “It’s safe to vote for this film, because the People’s Choice is a poll of red state and blue state America.”

Mystery Pollster concludes, “Not exactly. It was a vote in which anyone living in red state or blue state America, or anywhere in the world for that matter, could choose to participate. It was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a representative survey of Americans, especially if Moore waged a campaign to get his fans to vote for his film.”

Thomas Lang

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Thomas Lang was a writer at CJR Daily.