Wednesday, April 25, 2007

CBS News Staffers Livid at Anti-Abortion Comment on “Free Speech” Segment

Via NewsBusters, a revealing piece of information deep in a Philadelphia Inquirer story on Katie Couric’s troubles with long-time CBS staffers. They don’t like her for a lot of reasons, but one important one is that her evening news show, on a “Free Speech” segment, allowed the parent of a murdered Columbine High School student an opportunity to make an anti-abortion comment. According to the Inquirer:
One of the early casualties was “Free Speech,” a segment in which ordinary people as well as celebrities sounded off on various issues.

For many CBS News staffers, the nadir was a “Free Speech” segment Oct. 2, the day five Amish schoolgirls were murdered in Lancaster County.

The father of a child killed in Colorado’s Columbine High School massacre in 1999 blamed the Amish tragedy, in part, on the teaching of evolution in public schools and on abortion.

Despite CBS’s avowed intention to include all viewpoints in “Free Speech,” the segment caused an uproar in the newsroom, according to CBS insiders.

“There’s a difference between free speech and responsible speech,” an embarrassed correspondent says.

It was another significant misstep in Couric’s uphill climb to legitimacy, a trek that seems to grow steeper by the day.
Of course, the “Free Speech” segment routinely allowed liberal and leftist statements.

We blogged on this incident back in October, and it’s significant that now, six months later, it is still the subject of a grudge among CBS staffers.

With the country split down the middle on abortion, one might think that “free speech” involves letting both sides be heard. But in the rarefied liberal atmosphere of network newsrooms, there aren’t two sides.

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