John McCaslin

Inside the Beltway overheard one CBS News veteran in Washington, who shall remain nameless, refer to the network's struggling anchor Katie Couric as a "lame duck."

This after it was all but confirmed in recent days that the former NBC "Today" show host will be shown the door if she doesn't exit through it first.

Meanwhile, when it comes to viewership, Business Week's Ron Grover reported this week that Mrs. Couric's imminent departure "has been getting better word of mouth than just about anything CBS has put on the air in the past year.

"Is she leaving? Of course she is. And it may well be after the presidential election, even though the public relations department at CBS has turned blue denying it. But there's a bigger question: Why do we need Couric — or Charlie Gibson or Brian Williams — to read us the news every night? Simply put, TV's evening news is a dinosaur that should go the way of the dodo bird."

Crossing the line

Following up on the question about whether Americans need any of the "big three" network television anchors to "read" the news every night, the journalism watchdog group Media Research Center (MRC) points out that an unhealthy dose of personal biases and opinions are being injected into the nightly newscasts, too.

Here are just a few recent examples cited by the Washington-based MRC:

NBC's Lee Cowan: "When NBC News first assigned me to the Barack Obama campaign, I must confess my knees quaked a bit. ... I wondered if I was up to the job. I wondered if I could do the campaign justice."

ABC's Charles Gibson: "[Barack] Obama challenged Americans to confront the country's racial divide. An extraordinary speech."

ABC's Claire Shipman: "[Mr. Obama] gave a great speech. I think it was a brave speech."

ABC's George Stephanopoulos: "As a speech, it was sophisticated, eloquent."

CNN's Campbell Brown: "It was daring."

Got it?

It's tough enough keeping up with all the new technology to have to worry about the myriad perpetrators of spam and such.

We'll leave that seemingly impossible task to Rep. Phil Gingrey, Georgia Republican, who has just introduced H.R. 5769 to "prohibit the sending of a text message containing an unsolicited advertisement to a cell phone number listed on the national do-not-call registry."

Que pasa?

The English as the Official Language Act has been introduced in both houses of Congress, stating that no person has a right, entitlement or claim to have the U.S. government or any of its officials or representatives act, communicate, perform or provide services, or provide materials in any language other than English.

Big egg

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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