Former “Today” show co-host Katie Couric has admitted in a new memoir that she edited a 2016 interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to exclude her remarks that were critical of sports athletes and others taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem.
In the new book, “Going There,” Couric said that she allowed her personal views to influence her decision to edit out the late justice’s comments, in which Ginsburg reportedly said those who kneel during the anthem are demonstrating a “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life,” according to the Daily Mail on Thursday.
Couric edited a story she wrote for Yahoo! News at the time, which included quotes from the justice in which she said refusing to stand for the national anthem, in her view, was “dumb and disrespectful,” but she didn’t include the other remarks. Kneeling during the anthem was popularized by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who claimed it was a protest against alleged police targeting of black males.
“With more and more football players across the country refusing to stand for the national anthem before games, Justice Ginsburg called the protest ‘dumb and disrespectful,'” Couric wrote.
“When asked by Couric how she feels about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and [other] athletes, refusing to stand for the anthem, Ginsburg replied, ‘I think it’s really dumb of them,'” the article continued.
“Would I arrest them for doing it? No,” Ginsburg explained. “I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”
“But when it comes to these football players, you may find their actions offensive, but what you’re saying is, it’s within their rights to exercise those actions?” Couric asked in response.
“Yes,” the justice responded. “If they want to be stupid, there’s no law that should be preventive. If they want to be arrogant, there’s no law that prevents them from that. What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”
Couric went on to point out that, at the time, even then-President Barack Obama said the act of kneeling during the anthem was “messy.”
In her book, Couric said that during her lengthy career in journalism she always attempted to keep her “personal politics” out of her reporting. But she faced a dilemma with Ginsburg, writing that she felt her “dumb and disrespectful” comments were “unworthy of a crusader for equality” like the late justice.
The day after the interview, Couric said that the head of public affairs for the Supreme Court contacted her to say that Ginsburg had “misspoken” and asked not to have those comments included in the piece.
The journalist said she became “conflicted” because she was a big fan of the justice, but David Westin, the former head of ABC News, advised her to leave the quote in the story.
“She’s on the Supreme Court. People should hear what she thinks,” he told Couric.
Social media users railed at Couric for the omission of the rest of Ginsburg’s statement.
“I’ve said this many times when discussing media bias, but bears repeating: The big question is often not what you see they’re doing, but what they’re hiding from you,” RealClearInvestigations senior writer Mark Hemingway noted on Twitter.
I've said this many times when discussing media bias, but bears repeating: The big question is often not what you see they're doing, but what they're hiding from you. https://t.co/jkZNzsRyfr
— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) October 13, 2021
“This is bigger than the Samantha Bee thing, because people actually watched Katie Couric,” writer Jim Treacher added.
This is bigger than the Samantha Bee thing, because people actually watched Katie Couric.
— 🎃jimtreacher.substack.com👻 (@jtLOL) October 13, 2021
Does she really state that RBG, due to her age, couldn’t understand her question? Would that also imply that she finds her age to be a barrier for “fully understanding questions” while on the bench? pic.twitter.com/EFZ7VFU7Pu
— _mzishi_ (@_mzishi_) October 13, 2021
— Yali Elkin (@yalielkin) October 13, 2021
What you can see they’re doing is like the magician’s wand.
— Matias Page ⭕️ HORMETIK (@Hormetik) October 13, 2021
— John Ondrasik (@johnondrasik) October 13, 2021
The power of a corrupt press is the power to conceal.
— Richard5832 (@richard5832) October 13, 2021
Couric deliberately obscured the complexity of RBG. She made her far less interesting and less human. She deprived the rest of us of knowing RBG and forming our own opinions. RBG deserved better and so did we.
— Joanne Dunne (@jedunne) October 14, 2021
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