John Leo

What's this about Couric arguing that people who don't approve of homosexuality were responsible for the murder of Matthew Shepard?

She deplores "a climate that some say has been established by religious zealots or Christian conservatives." Like a lot of people, Katie is fond of "climate" arguments: People who oppose hate-crime laws are responsible for the dragging murder of James Byrd in Texas; people who deride the federal government are responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing, etc. But Al Gore isn't responsible for the Unabomber, though the bomber's environmental views are almost identical to Gore's and may have come from him.

Wasn't Katie a bit miffed when the Super Bowl hoax was revealed -- you know, the one that said husbands beat up their wives when their team loses?

Yes, she did seem a bit out of sorts about that, and she wasn't even ready to concede it was a hoax. She said to author Christina Hoff Sommers: "Let's say, if one accepts your thesis, that these statistics are inflated or are used incorrectly. Aren't you worried about throwing the baby out with the bath water? So Super Bowl Sunday isn't the biggest day for men battering women, aren't you afraid that you're going to be dismissing the problem altogether if you refute that?"

This is peculiar position, but, as I said, she likes "climate" arguments. If you expose a hoax about domestic violence, you reinforce the climate that lets abuse persist.

Katie tends to go ga-ga over Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Kofi Annan, but she's snippy about Ronald Reagan, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and religious conservatives. How do you account for this?

Arguing that she shouldn't have the conventional opinions of her class and profession is like arguing that fish shouldn't have fins. In Manhattan journalism, all the fish tend to have the same fins.

But I thought the new anchor was going to be the antidote to Dan Rather. Why did they pick Katie?

CBS had no logical successor in the wings, nobody like Brian Williams. Few people think the evening network news operations have much of a future. So CBS rolled the dice and opted for a mega-celebrity to get some ratings. It's a show-biz decision. They're trying to save what's left.

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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