Atypical CBS? Katie's Super Bowl Ad Plugs What's Right With America

For TV news watchers, the most interesting Super Bowl ads were CBS promoting itself. Not the ads for its sleazy sitcoms like "Two and a Half Men," or its dark, gory dramas like "Criminal Minds," but more incessant ads for Katie's Evening News. Earth to CBS: the last $10 million didn't work either. I didn't see a single plug for Super Bowl coverage on "The Early Show,' but lots of Katie talking about what's great about America: "We hear a lot about what’s wrong with America. But there are so many examples of America’s can-do spirit. Good people doing great things on the CBS Evening News."

Katie's promoting the newest ratings gambit for the Katie-cast: a segment on "The American Spirit." This could be flagged as false advertising. They might try a feel-good story pandering to patriotism in a sweeps period, but on most nights, CBS will tell you America is ruining Iraq and hurtling the planet toward a global-warming catastrophe. And they'll consider anyone with an opposing opinion as hopelessly delusional or certainly bribed.

The slogan should be: "CBS Evening News. Because you need to be told what to think."

(Anyone remember Scott Pelley telling the CBS site Public Eye that it would be "irresponsible" to air skeptical voices, who are unquestionably on the payroll of energy barons, on global warming?)

That attitude and booking procedure hasn’t stopped Katie from demanding more bipartisanship in Washington, even if CBS doesn’t believe in bipartisanship during their newscasts. (Unless you count the Even Republicans like Chuck Hagel as reporters intone: "Even Republicans think Iraq is Bush’s Vietnam."). In one of her online commentaries, Couric dipped into the Mother Jones file (just Google it) to whack at conservative activist Grover Norquist:

I disagree with the political activist Grover Norquist, who famously said that "bipartisanship is just another word for date-rape." Working with the other party doesn’t have to mean surrendering your principles. Actually, compromise is a fundamental American principle. That’s a big reason the Constitution makes it so hard to get anything done without broad support.

Maybe next time politicians ask for our vote, our first question shouldn’t be: where do ou stand on the issues? It should be: where can you compromise on the issues—work with the other side—and deliver?

An anchor should spare the Ross Perot git-under-the-hood lecture on bipartisan compromise and achievement until when (and if) he or she actually produces a balanced news product on their network. If they're going to make one-sided news, why shouldn't Washington make one-sided policy?

TV Newser also noted that in the early hours of CBS's pregame coverage, Katie Couric contributed a very stale segment on Steelers star Hines Ward -- who was in LAST year's Super Bowl. The other issue there wasn't her timing, but her hairdo.

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