CBS News Staffers Livid at Anti-Abortion Comment on “Free Speech” Segment
One of the early casualties was “Free Speech,” a segment in which ordinary people as well as celebrities sounded off on various issues.Of course, the “Free Speech” segment routinely allowed liberal and leftist statements.
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.
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.