Beaton: Politics, porn and gun nuts | AspenTimes.com

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Beaton: Politics, porn and gun nuts

Katie Couric was the anchor for a while on "CBS Evening News" and was a correspondent on the investigation program "60 Minutes." She was a star.

She's fallen far. But she fell gradually, and there were signs along the way. Her $15 million-per-year gig at CBS was a box office bust but she was a hit in guest-hosting "The Tonight Show," where she replaced Jay Leno's solid-front desk with an open-fronted one that showed her legs.

Now she's fallen all the way down to "global anchor," whatever that is, at Yahoo, whose name is comically appropriate for the kind of "news" she's doing there.

Which is politics porn.

My last column, titled "Trump, journalists and politics porn," took a hard look at the debasement of politics by candidates and journalists trolling in the gutter for voters and viewers. Couric's recent spectacle suggests that the sleaze hasn't bottomed out yet.

Couric's purported story was an interview with several Second Amendment advocates. You know, gun owners. Or as people who don't own guns call them, "gun nuts."

Whether or not you agree with them, these gun owners/nuts in Couric's interview come across as rational and well-spoken. Too much so, Couric evidently decided. So she fixed that.

At one point, she asked them, "If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?"

That's a legitimate question to which there are legitimate answers. Indeed, a contemporaneous audio recording made by the gun owners/nuts shows they immediately jumped in to give some of those legitimate answers.

Couric didn't like that because the whole purpose of her story was to make them look like nuts.

So right after her question, she spliced in video from dead time elsewhere in the interview when the interviewees were simply waiting for the next question or gazing down as someone else spoke. The effect is to make it look like they were utterly stumped by her question.

To turn the tables, it's as if one of the interviewees said to Couric, "Well, Katie, if you take away everyone's guns, then what are they supposed to do when a rapist breaks down the front door?" and then Couric's answer was replaced with video of her staring blankly at her shoes.

But it was Couric who had the privilege of doing the editing, not the interviewees. So she caricatured them as salted nuts who can't answer an elementary question in the political debate over guns because the question hadn't even occurred to their unwashed, tobacco-chewing, so-called minds as they were shooting road signs from pickup trucks while swilling warm domestic beer out of a can through yellow teeth and tossing the empties out the window.

Under the guise of journalism and at the expense of her interviewees, Couric falsified the story to suit her political viewpoint and to attract viewers. If not for the audio recording made by one of the interviewees, she would have gotten away with it.

Couric has fallen far, but not far enough. After she was caught and called out for her fraud, she initially said she was "very proud" of her fraud. After people then laughed at her, she finally said she "regrets" her fraud. She never did apologize to the interviewees or her viewers for her fraud.

She's suffered no career penalty, either. If anything, I suppose the attention will boost her career. In show business, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

Besides, most of the media establishment is owned — lock, stock and barrel — by liberals. To a liberal, gun control is a catechism of their politics, and politics is more important than truth-telling.

I'm not just making that up, as a liberal tele-journalist might. The New York Times reported that exit polls in the New York primary showed that only 26 percent of Dems — and only 20 percent of Hillary voters — thought "honesty and trustworthiness" are important qualities in a presidential candidate. Another poll said that 71 percent of Dems think Hillary should continue running for president even if she is under felony indictment for espionage.

And so Yahoo still pays Couric $10 million a year. Porn pays, especially the liberal kind. If you have to issue an insincere, half-assed nonapology once in a while, that's just a cost of doing business.

Fine, but don't tell us it's journalism. It's not. It's porn.

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