Lame 'Dodos'?

John McCaslin

4/16/2008 10:21:52 AM - 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

President Bush didn't buy into man-made "global warming" during his first seven years in office, so why expect him to now as a lame-duck president?

Consider the letter sent this week by Rep. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice chiding the Bush administration for sending "a grand total of zero participants" to a major international renewable-energy conference to combat global warming that just wrapped up in Berlin. Some 200 representatives from more than 50 countries attended.

"The Bush administration talks a big game on cooperation, but is conspicuously absent when the world tries to cooperate on renewable energy and global warming," the Democratic chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming wrote to Miss Rice.

"The planet needs a global commitment if we are to save it, and this slight to the international community will not solve anything, and only serve to reinforce the poor standing of this administration on the international stage."

We'll let you know if and when the secretary writes back.