Liberal Henican Tags Couric Quote 'Icky'

Saturday’s Fox News Watch gave attention to a couple of entries in the MRC’s "Best Notable Quotables of 2009: The 22nd Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting." Returning from a commercial break, a clip of CBS’s Katie Couric began the segment as Couric was shown expressing awe at President Obama’s confidence as she interviewed him last July. Couric: "You’re so confident, Mr. President, and so focused. Is your confidence ever shaken? Do you ever wake up and say, ‘Damn, this is hard’?"

FNC host Jon Scott then jumped in to credit the MRC:

That’s Katie Couric earlier this year with President Obama. Her performance there garnered the Media Research Center’s "Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award for Obsequious Obama Interviews." The MRC acknowledging more achievements in its annual awards for the year’s worst reporting. The "Master of His Domain Award for Obama Puffery" goes to Time’s Joe Klein for his May 4 cover story on Barack Obama’s first 100 days as President.

Even liberal panel member Ellis Henican of Newsday thought Couric’s words were "icky," and contended that "I wouldn’t want to be caught on tape saying either one of those things."

Henican, missing the point that the Media Research Center -- parent organization of NewsBusters -- focuses the bulk of its attention on mainstream media journalists who claim to be fair and objective in reporting straight news, then answered the MRC’s examples by trying to pass off a quote from Rush Limbaugh as a counterexample.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Saturday, December 26, Fox News Watch on FNC:

CLIP OF KATIE COURIC INTERVIEWING PRESIDENT OBAMA, DATED JULY 22, 2009: You’re so confident, Mr. President, and so focused. Is your confidence ever shaken? Do you ever wake up and say, "Damn, this is hard"?

JON SCOTT: That’s Katie Couric earlier this year with President Obama. Her performance there garnered the Media Research Center’s "Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award for Obsequious Obama Interviews." The MRC acknowledging more achievements in its annual awards for the year’s worst reporting. The "Master of His Domain Award for Obama Puffery" goes to Time’s Joe Klein for his May 4 cover story on Barack Obama’s first 100 days as President. All right, Dana, you were in the Bush White House. Compare that kind of coverage to the kind of coverage George W. Bush got.

DANA PERINO, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON: Well, there is no comparison, and I gave up a long time ago, as a Republican, thinking that we were going to get comparable type of coverage. There are, though, a lot of Democrats and liberals will tell you that Bush got a lot of fawning coverage after 9/11. And, obviously, that swung back the other way. But I always say if you are, if you’re looking for communications advice, ask a Republican because they’ve had to try so much harder.

SCOTT: To be fair, Ellis, you think there’s a quote from a conservative member of the media that deserves to be mentioned here.

ELLIS HENICAN, NEWSDAY: Well, listen, those are two icky examples. I mean, I wouldn’t want to be caught on tape saying either one of those things, but, yeah, come on, let’s be honest, there is some pretty awful stuff on the other side. And, I mean, I did a little poking around, and how’s this one from Limbaugh, right? You know, he’s said a few things, right? He said, "We are being told that we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles because his father was black." Now, that’s pretty awful, isn’t it?

PERINO: Okay, that is a, I would never say something like that, but Limbaugh doesn’t pretend to be [an] objective journalist, okay, and Katie Couric does.

HENICAN: And there’s a variety of quotes we can pull from any of those venues. But, listen, people have asked stupid stuff in both directions. Let’s admit that, huh?

RICH LOWRY, NATIONAL REVIEW: What’s different, Ellis, I mean, one, he’s not supposed to be an objective reporter. Two, if you go to the Media Research Center Web site and look at every single-

HENICAN, WITH SARCASM: An objective organization, right?

LOWRY: Well, look at every single video clip from the inauguration, and it is – in your word, "icky" – every single one of them is icky from every single major media outlet. They were in love with this guy, and they still are, most of them.