In two separate segments yesterday, Fox News attacked CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric for reporting from the ground in Iraq, calling it “a desperate move” and asking if it was a “ratings ploy or legitimate journalism.”
On Your World With Neil Cavuto, guest host Dagen McDowell featured Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America, who characterized Couric’s trip as “a clear act of desperation” by a single mother whose “priorities [are] so determined by her ambition rather than her children’s welfare.” Crouse pointedly accused Couric of being a bad mother for going to cover Iraq:
I would say the same thing if this were a man journalist going out there, a male anchor, because when you look at the choice she’s making, she’s saying my ratings are more important than my children. That’s the bottom line.“
Later in the afternoon, The Big Story With John Gibson hosted New York Post columnist Linda Stasi, who called Couric’s trip “a desperate move” to gain “some sort of credibility.” “You know and I know that she doesn’t have to be there for the report,” said Stasi. Watch it:
During the Your World segment, law professor Susan Estrich came to the CBS anchor’s defense, noting that Couric is “a journalist” and that the war in Iraq is “a really important story” that hasn’t been covered “with the intensity it” deserves:
She’s a journalist. This is a war. It’s a really important story. It’s not like she’s going to camp out at Paris Hilton’s house. I mean the press has been criticized for not covering Iraq with the intensity it should. And really, that’s her decision.
In fact, Fox News is one of the biggest culprits of “not covering Iraq with the intensity it should.” As a recent Project for Excellence in Journalism study showed, the network consistently covers the war in Iraq roughly half as much as its rivals.
Fox has attacked journalists for covering Iraq too much. In February, John Gibson accused CNN’s Anderson Cooper of “news-guy snobbery” for his complaints that the death of Anna Nicole Smith was saturating the news when “there’s a war on.” Fox’s Bill O’Reilly has claimed “CNN and MSNBC are actually helping the terrorists by reporting” often on Iraq.