Couric Advises Against 'Nastiness' -- In Speech That Mocked Rush, Palin, Rumsfeld, and Miss California

Katie Couric’s speech to Class Day at Princeton was posted Monday on The Huffington Post. In her flailing attempts at humor, she mocked Rush Limbaugh, Donald Rumsfeld, Miss California, and Sarah Palin. And after all that, she counseled the students "don’t be a hater...you must really guard against the cynicism and nastiness that are so pervasive today, especially on the Internet."

That’s certainly true when you count anchor snarkiness on The Huffington Post. Here are some of Katie’s lowlights:

On Rush Limbaugh: "There may be some opportunities in the Republican Party. They're still looking for an effective spokesman, and the only person they can find so far is Rush Limbaugh....and he won't take the job because he doesn't want to give up his prescription plan."

On Donald Rumsfeld: "And I understand Class of 54's Donald Rumsfeld has been charged with guarding the Big Cannon. I don't want to say he's taking his job too far, but he's reportedly been telling President Obama there are Weapons of Mass Destruction hidden at Rutgers."

On Gov. Palin: "Coming here was a real no brainer! After all, I can see New Jersey from my house!"

She attacked Miss California in a more roundabout fashion, as she praised Hillary Clinton and Sonia Sotomayor (and also elsewhere in the remarks, Michelle Obama). She asked "WTF" (in the abbreviated form) about her being the first female off-campus speaker at Class Day:

So, I'd like to officially welcome Princeton to the 21st Century. You've embraced the female gender at the perfect time...because it's been quite a year for women.

After all, a Latina has just been nominated to the Supreme Court...only the third woman in history. And I heard she graduated summa cum laude from a little school in New Jersey! Hillary Clinton was the first serious female presidential candidate and made 18 million cracks in the ultimate glass ceiling. And then of course, there's Carrie Prejean, Miss California. No one has done more to motivate gay rights activists since Anita Bryant. (Your parents know who she is.)

Couric can't really be that angry, since Princeton didn't begin the tradition of Class Day speakers from off campus until 2001.

Then, after all the conservative-mocking, came the sermon against haters:

Next, don't be a hater. Princeton has taught you to think critically, to approach things with a healthy dose of skepticism...and that's a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say. But you really must guard against the cynicism and nastiness that are so pervasive today, particularly on the internet. It can be a wonderful, powerful and equalizing tool, but it's also populated by haters and trolls.

Couric offered more joy about the Sotomayor nomination, and then turned around to attacking the 1980s, as symbolized by the Gordon Gekko character in the movie Wall Street:

When President Obama announced he was choosing Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court it was a reminder that the American Dream is alive and well...that a young Puerto Rican girl who grew up in a housing project in the Bronx could earn a seat in the highest court in the land. She congratulated the single mother who raised her to be a judge and her brother to be a doctor. Parents, your children, too, can achieve anything because you gave them strong shoulders to stand on and the tools they'll need to succeed. Remind yourselves of this when they ask if they can come home and live with you while they look for work!

But maybe the silver lining of these tough economic times is that it may be the wake up call helps recalibrate our values.

The eighties -- thank GOD -- are long over. Luckily none of you remember them. Gordon Gekko from the movie "Wall Street" was wrong...greed is not good. We can finally burn the bumper sticker that says: "he who dies with the most toys wins." The truth is closer to the old Italian Proverb that says: "At the end of the game, the king and the pawn go back in the same box."

This is rich material coming from an anchor woman who makes 15 million dollars a year, which makes her much more queen than pawn.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis