The liberal news media

"If you weren't rah rah rah for the Bush administration, and the war, you were considered unpatriotic, even treasonous."

Topics: Iraq war, War Room, Katie Couric,

Point: In a new Gallup Poll, 77 percent of Republicans say that the news media is “too liberal.”

Counterpoint: In an excerpt from his new book, Howard Kurtz describes the pressure Katie Couric felt from management at NBC to toe the line on Iraq:

“Two months before the 2004 election, when she was still at NBC’s ‘Today’ show, Couric had asked Condoleezza Rice whether she agreed with Vice President Cheney’s declaration that the country would be at greater risk for terrorist attacks if John Kerry won the White House. Rice sidestepped the question, saying that any president had to fight aggressively against terrorism.

“Couric interrupted and asked the question again. Would a Kerry victory put America at greater risk? Rice ducked again, saying that the issue should not be personalized.

“Soon afterward, Couric got an e-mail from Robert Wright, the NBC president. He was forwarding a note from an Atlanta woman who complained that Couric had been too confrontational with Rice.

“What was the message here? Couric felt that Wright must be telling her to back off …

“Couric felt there was a subtle, insidious pressure to toe the party line, and you bucked that at your peril. She wanted to believe that her NBC colleagues were partners in the search for truth, and no longer felt that was the case. She knew that the corporate management viewed her as an out-and-out liberal. When she ran into Jack Welch, the General Electric chairman, he would sometimes say that they had never seen eye to eye politically. If you weren’t rah rah rah for the Bush administration, and the war, you were considered unpatriotic, even treasonous.”

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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