There were tours by journalists when I was with NBC News in the 1960s and '70s, but those were different. Foreign correspondents would come home from their posts and visit college campuses and other venues. They would "report" on their areas of expertise and the effectiveness of U.S. policy in the region. The audience asked serious questions about the countries, ranging from their military strength and political intentions, to their economies. Correspondents did not solicit the views of the audience so they might do a better job covering the news. The audience solicited the views of the correspondents, believing them to have important information they needed and wanted to hear.
I'm all for anchors visiting "fly-over country," but given their privileged lives, large salaries, and the similar worldview held by their friends and professional associates, don't look for Katie's listening tour to be much more than hype for the new "CBS Evening News."
Here's how we'll know if Couric pays attention to what conservatives want to see: Katie will do stories on heroes in Iraq; a religious conservative will not be called "intolerant" for wanting to protect the unborn, or preserve marriage between men and women; terrorists are treated as evil and the Bush administration, which is trying to defeat them, is at least occasionally portrayed as the good side.
Don't hold your breath, but do keep the remote handy.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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