April 12, 2007

Couric: Faux Journalist Reflects Twilight of America

It is one more sign of the decline of America.

CBS News said this week the April 4 installment of "Katie Couric's Notebook" consisted mostly of passages lifted verbatim from a Wall Street Journal column by Jeffrey Zaslow that was published in March.

Rigor and professionalism has given way to false appearance and the bottom line. For a highly-paid news anchor to blunder into plagiarism is unacceptable in a first-rate nation, which is the point. The U.S. is fading in the same way Rome, Spain and Britain faded from preeminence.

Morris Berman, and others, are writing books on the decline of the American Empire. A review of Berman's "The Twilight of American Culture," sums it up:

Morris Berman discusses the decline in American life, evidenced by growing class inequities, the deterioration of literacy, and the pervasiveness of anti-intellectualism.

The deterioration of literacy is exemplified in this case by a failure to recognize plagiarism. Couric didn't even write the video essay, despite the impression given that she does.

Here's another example of the decline, a failure of accountability:

The producer responsible for Couric's piece was fired on Monday night, hours after the Journal contacted CBS News to complain.

"Couric's" piece? First, it was phony theater, foisted on the American public; Couric wasn't mouthing a memory about her library card. She was mouthing someone Else's memory about their library card, written by an as-yet nameless producer (UPDATE: Now named as Melissa McNamara).

Second, if it's truly "Couric's piece," isn't she also responsible? Apparently not in the twilight of America, where it's OK for CBS to give the impression that it is "Couric's piece." It was faked, like most of what passes for journalism on corporate media as the American Dark Ages approach.


Reuters, April 12, 2007, CBS says Couric unaware video essay plagiarized.

Melanie Ho, Review of Berman's "The Twilight of America."

See Also:

Regret The Error, a blog that was cited in the Reuters article.

The Daily Background
, a blog that was cited in the Reuters article. Raises the question of double-plagiarism. What The Daily Background calls "double-plagiarism" I call "phony theater."

High Tech Parent on Couric

On the ligher side, gotta take a look at the visual on Milk Was a Bad Choice



Rick said...

Excellent post! Agreed that national journalism today looks more like intentional attempts to dupe the public than to actually report. That happens, though, when we have blind faith that our news anchors and reporters are telling the truth. "Trust but verify" works in many facets of life.

P&T posted its first discussion topic, too. See you there.


jadegreen said...

I appreciate the thoroughness of your post and all the links. I wonder how long this story is going to stay in the news cycle and why it's not getting much play on television or NPR or other radio places.