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Katie Couric, Meet Becky Johnson
Special to FreeRepublic ^ | 31 March 2007 | John Armor (Congressman Billybob)

Posted on 03/31/2007 9:06:22 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob

Who are these people? Katie Couric used to be on the Today Show, then she fell off the map. You’ve never heard of Becky Johnson? Allow me to help.

Becky Johnson is a Staff Reporter for the Smoky Mountain News. I know both Becky and her editor, Scott McLeod, and respect their work. If you’re not familiar with the SMN, it covers Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain Counties in western North Carolina. Becky could teach Katie a thing or two about reporting. Case in point:

Becky wrote a story in the February 21 issue of SMN, which is a near perfect example of the craft of reporting. It paints a picture. It tells a story. But most of all, it presents facts from which an astute reader can draw some interesting conclusions. Most of all, Becky does not preach to the reader. She doesn’t present a pre-chewed conclusion which the reader/listener is expected to accept.

Are you listening, Katie? Reporting is about facts. Editorials are about opinions.

Becky’s lede on her article has the flavor of an O’Henry short story. “When Commissioner Glenn Jones pulled into the Stillhouse Branch trailer park in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Swain County last October, he’d strayed far from the campaign path of most candidates.”

As the article recounts, Jones won his reelection bid by just 200 votes. He obtained at least 130 absentee votes in these trailer parks, etc., where he was “helpful” to the residents in filling out their ballots. But was there any illegality in the efforts of Jones and his friends?

Katie Couric, reporting on Bush administration officials, uses language to make clear her belief (and that of her network) that they have violated the law, in the scandal du jour. Becky Johnson, on the other hand, raises the question whether laws might have been violated, and then gets and reports actual facts, from which readers can reach conclusions.

Are we moving to swiftly for you, Katie?

Becky writes, “One discrepancy that emerged ... involved the signatures of witnesses on absentee ballots. Every voter must have two witnesses sign their absentee ballot envelope, verifying its legitimacy.” The candidate cannot sign as a witness. According to residents interviewed, the candidate came by with just Willard Smith in tow, Willard being “an 82-year-old kingpin of the Democratic Party.” Smith’s wife Genevieve, signed as a witness, but she wasn’t there.

Another witness whose signature appeared was George Arvey, a resident of a targeted apartment complex. Some voters whose absentee ballot were witnessed by Arvey say he was never there. Two other types of potentially illegal activity are factually presented in the article.

It seems to me that CBS is belatedly reaching the same conclusion about Katie Couric and the Evening News, that Coca-Cola reached about New Coke long ago, and Ford reached about the Edsel, even longer. New Coke was abandoned for Classic Coke. The Edsel was just plain abandoned.

There are only two options for CBS. Abandon Katie Couric. Or, teach Katie how to report competently. If they choose the latter route, they should start by having her read Becky Johnson’s story about Commissioner Jones’ election tactics..

If Katie does learn to be a real reporter and hangs onto her job, I’d say she owes Becky a bonus. A year’s pay for Becky, which would be a few hour’s pay for Katie, sounds about right.

To read Becky’s fine story, go to www.SmokyMountainNews.com Click on Search Archives on the lower left. Then, at the top choose 2007 and then February. It’s the first article on 2/21/07, “Election Controversy Plagues Swain.” Anyone, not just Katie, can get from this a primer on how to report a story with style, accuracy, and competence.

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About the Author: John Armor practiced in the US Supreme Court for 33 years. John_Armor@aya.yale.edu He lives in the 11th District of North Carolina.

- 30 -


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: beckyjohnson; katiecouric; reporting; smokymountainnews
I think y'all will like this piece. And I do hope that Freepers who are writers will follow the link and read Becky's article. I do mean what I say, that her lede is like O'Henry.

John / Billybob

1 posted on 03/31/2007 9:06:23 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob
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To: Congressman Billybob

I think Couric's problem is that she spent years cultivating an image as a lightweight and then wanted to suddenly be taken seriously as a hard news journalist.

Once people make up their mind about a person or a thing, it's difficult to get them to change their minds.


2 posted on 03/31/2007 9:08:47 AM PDT by HitmanLV ("If at first you don't succeed, keep on sucking until you do suck seed." - Jerry 'Curly' Howard)
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To: HitmanLV
I think Couric's problem is that she spent years cultivating an image as a lightweight and then wanted to suddenly be taken seriously as a hard news journalist.

Never really thought of it that way... thanks!

3 posted on 03/31/2007 9:14:03 AM PDT by Tallguy
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To: Congressman Billybob

What makes you think competent reporting is a goal of cBS... or any other DBM/DNC 'news' outlet?


4 posted on 03/31/2007 9:16:46 AM PDT by johnny7 ("We took a hell of a beating." -'Vinegar Joe' Stilwell)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Katie Couric used to be on the Today Show, then she fell off the map

Funny but true. What's hilarious is that we are talking about a major broadcaster.
5 posted on 03/31/2007 9:18:08 AM PDT by Vision ("Be delighted with the Lord. Then he will give you all your heart's desires." Psalm37:4)
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To: Congressman Billybob
nice to read your post, john.


6 posted on 03/31/2007 9:19:11 AM PDT by Diogenesis (Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Thank you, John, and yes, we budding scribes should seek out those who are competent at their craft. I look forward to reading Becky's work. And thank you Becky Johnson for performing your constitutional duty.


7 posted on 03/31/2007 9:37:00 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Prevent Glo-Ball Warming ... turn out the sun when not in use)
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To: Congressman Billybob

INteresting. When I have picked up the SMN in Franklin, I generally find it to be VERY liberal in its general 'coverage' and certainly in its editorials.


8 posted on 03/31/2007 11:17:16 AM PDT by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitor)
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To: HitmanLV
In an effort to salvage her sagging CBS ratings, Katie produced yet another special based on her nationally televised, award-winning (the prestigious Sphincter Cup) colonoscopy of several years ago.

Unfortunately, so much of the footage was found to contain images such as the still seen here that it was rendered unusable and the project had to be s**tcanned.

Katie told interviewers later that this is how she spends much of her free time as this is where she gets some of her best program ideas. She cited her interview with Hillary Clinton as a prime example.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

9 posted on 03/31/2007 11:28:26 AM PDT by Dick Bachert
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To: Blueflag
Most newspapers tend to be liberal in their editorial policy. However, I encourage everyone to read Becky Johnson's original article. I happen to know what her politics are. However, I defy anyone to deduce her politics from the contents of her fair and accurate article on a political subject.

In fact, I think she went beyond mere good reporting, and approached the category of excellent writing in any medium. That's why I compared her lede to an O'Henry short story.

John / Billybob

10 posted on 03/31/2007 12:44:29 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob (Please get involved: www.ArmorforCongress.com)
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To: Congressman Billybob
We have a talented reporter in Charlotte also. Tara Servatius has become such a force and pundit on the local scene that she has her own radio show on WBT. They bill her as Citizen Servatius, Muckraker.

Obviously, she doesn't work for the McClatchy rag, The Charlotte Observer, but strangely enough for Creative Loafing (go figure). She gets into the nitty-gritty of local politics and is fearless in exposing the chicanery of politicos of whatever stripe. I can't compare her to O'Henry but she is what the press should be, especially in the gadfly role.

It's indeed a shame when lightweights such as Couric have the national stage compared to real talents like Becky Johnson or Tara Servatius.

Here is a link to some of Tara's articles: http://charlotte.creativeloafing.com/gyrobase/Results?author=oid%3A62

11 posted on 03/31/2007 1:22:51 PM PDT by DeFault User
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To: NonValueAdded
thank you Becky Johnson for performing your constitutional duty.
Becky Johnson is a reporter. She doesn't have any "constitutional duty." What she has in the First Amendment is merely a charter of freedom, not a responsibility.

Reporters have "the right to tell the truth." And I have a right to be a financier and investor. I have the right to own the Brooklyn Bridge. Since the fact that reporters have a right to tell the truth proves that in fact they do tell the truth, you should buy my right to the Brooklyn Bridge. I'll sell it cheap.

Why Broadcast Journalism is
Unnecessary and Illegitimate


12 posted on 03/31/2007 6:06:01 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion
Sounds like we are set for some violent agreement here. Freedom of the Press came first for a reason. I think the founding fathers were looking to enable the Thomas Paines rather than simply to pad Ben Franklin's printing income. If you quibble with the word duty then let's try role or part. Would you agree that the press has a role in the greater system of checks and balances of our government of the people, for the people, and by the people?

True, no one is forcing people to be reporters just as they aren't forcing people into high finance. Nevertheless, there is a reasonable expectation that people who choose to be reporters will use their freedom to do good, not to do bad. I think it is worth applauding when a reporter does good. It doesn't happen often enough.

13 posted on 03/31/2007 10:59:03 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (Prevent Glo-Ball Warming ... turn out the sun when not in use)
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To: NonValueAdded; The Spirit Of Allegiance; atomic conspiracy; Earthdweller; Eddie01; rlmorel; ...
Nevertheless, there is a reasonable expectation that people who choose to be reporters will use their freedom to do good, not to do bad.
Agreed. But my point was that the assumption that reporters do good - that journalism is objective - is a prejudice. It is "a vagrant opinion with no visible means of support."

I go so far as to say that the claim of journalistic objectivity is a form of censorship. If faced with an open-and-shut case of politically tendentious journalism - such as the 2004 60 Minutes hit piece on President Bush's TANG service record - all journalists self-censor. None of them durst say the obvious truths that

The refusal of any organ of Big Journalism to point out these facts and conclude that the "Killian memos" were fraudulent partisan hit by CBS News is a mark not of the "objectivity" but of the solidarity of Big Journalism.
I think it is worth applauding when a reporter does good. It doesn't happen often enough.
That is where we "violently agree."

Why Broadcast Journalism is
Unnecessary and Illegitimate


14 posted on 04/01/2007 3:46:47 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

BTTT


15 posted on 04/01/2007 3:56:56 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: NonValueAdded
"Nevertheless, there is a reasonable expectation that people who choose to be reporters will use their freedom to do good, not to do bad."

A very common assumption...very dangerous but very common.

16 posted on 04/01/2007 4:03:41 AM PDT by Earthdweller (All reality is based on faith in something.)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion
The refusal of any organ of Big Journalism to point out these facts and conclude that the "Killian memos" were fraudulent partisan hit by CBS News is a mark not of the "objectivity" but of the solidarity of Big Journalism.

The biggest smoking gun I've ever seen... and the fact that no prosecutor took it upon himself to delve further is mind-boggling.

17 posted on 04/01/2007 4:46:04 AM PDT by johnny7 ("We took a hell of a beating." -'Vinegar Joe' Stilwell)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

BTTT!


18 posted on 04/01/2007 6:27:16 AM PDT by PGalt
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To: HitmanLV
>>>>>she spent years cultivating her style as a light weight and suddenly wanted to be taken serious>>>>

I think you are partially right but that only applies mostly to liberals.

During the years she spent on the AM show, she showed her bias every time she interviewed someone. If the person was a liberal she was all smiles and nicey nice, if the person was a conservative her whole demeanor changed. Her expression was hard, she never smiled, her voice was lower and serious. She showed an obvious dislike to conservatives so none of those people are going to watch her on the evening news because we already know her style.

19 posted on 04/01/2007 6:42:24 AM PDT by Ditter
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To: HitmanLV

I want to relate a story about Couric. Four friends of mine (women) went to NYC together and one of the planned stops was to see Katie at the network because they all watched her every morning. They were not particularly political and thought of her as someone cute who lived next door. They loved her hair and her clothes and thought she was the cutest thing ever on TV. When she finally showed up for the arranged meeting she was so rude and sharp that they all left almost in tears. Perky katie is a b*tch! LOL!


20 posted on 04/01/2007 6:55:54 AM PDT by Ditter
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion; NonValueAdded
Nevertheless, there is a reasonable expectation that people who choose to be reporters will use their freedom to do good, not to do bad.

Writing do good stories seems easy enough. Reporters just need to create a perceived evil to righteously rebuke. Reporters with looming deadlines can get a lot of mileage out of cardboard villains. (Cardboard characters keep it simple for the masses). The moral of a do good story with a cardboard villain enables the reimagineering of a formulaic ending where the bad guy redeems himself or dies or something.

Unfortunately, given life's complexity, determining exactly who or what "gets to" play the part of the evil cardboard villain quite often becomes a political decision.
21 posted on 04/01/2007 9:57:05 AM PDT by Milhous (There are only two ways of telling the complete truth: anonymously and posthumously. - Thomas Sowell)
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To: NonValueAdded
Nevertheless, there is a reasonable expectation that people who choose to be reporters will use their freedom to do good, not to do bad. I think it is worth applauding when a reporter does good. It doesn't happen often enough.

You know, I would be happy if they would just try to be good reporters and stop trying to "do good". I think they should just try to keep to the "who, what, when, where and how" and be done with it. It is possible to do that and sound important I believe.

22 posted on 04/01/2007 2:43:44 PM PDT by mc5cents (Show me just what Mohammd brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman)
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To: johnny7
The refusal of any organ of Big Journalism to point out these facts and conclude that the "Killian memos" were fraudulent partisan hit by CBS News is a mark not of the "objectivity" but of the solidarity of Big Journalism.
The biggest smoking gun I've ever seen... and the fact that no prosecutor took it upon himself to delve further is mind-boggling.
There is no occasion for a prosecutor to involve himself. After all, the First Amendment does not say that the press has to be objective or fair - it says that the government cannot impose its version of "fairness" on the press.

That doesn't apply to the licensees of the FCC - but then, the FCC is (theoretically) in charge of requiring its licensees to be objective. Which is why it is my opinion that the FCC and its licensees should have their socks sued off in civil court. IMHO that is the only conceivable remedy - and given that all but one justice of SCOTUS listens to broadcast journalism, it is a slender reed to have to rely on.

In suing broadcast journalism, you would have to request as part of the remedy specific protections against broadcast criticism of SCOTUS in order to give the members of the court the freedom to judge without fear or favor. That is not dangerous because it would not reach the press - printed journalism and printed books and, I would certainly argue, the Internet and FreeRepublic.

The Internet differs fundamentally from broadcasting in that the requirements for entry into blogging, FReeping, or podcasting are entirely negligible in comparison to the barriers to entry into broadcasting.

Why Broadcast Journalism is
Unnecessary and Illegitimate


23 posted on 04/01/2007 3:29:24 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

I believe Katie Couric peaked out on the NBC Today Show - her role there was her acme. She lacks intellect, honest inquiry without personal bias, and she just isn't curious enough to present the story right without a skew.

Is that journalism? No Way!

She is a personality - a lightweight personality.

Nothing more.


24 posted on 04/01/2007 3:33:37 PM PDT by imintrouble
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To: Milhous
determining exactly who or what "gets to" play the part of the evil cardboard villain quite often becomes a political decision.
I actually think that the "cardboard villian" is fixed. The "villain" is anyone who raises his profile by actually accomplishing something. Accomplishment threatens the primacy of the criticizing class - reporters most especially, Democrat politicians, unionists, plaintiff lawyers, and (all too often) teachers. People who actually accomplish things set themselves up for second guessing; it is always possible to see in retrospect "where," as Teddy Roosevelt put it, "the doer of deeds could have done them better."

So in that sense the "political decision" of who gets mercilessly criticized by journalism is not so much driven by the desire of the reporter for a particular outcome as by who makes the juciest target for being knocked down a peg or two. And that is always the businessman or the doctor - or the cop or the soldier. Hence, "objective" journalism and its running dog, "liberalism," attack those targets.


25 posted on 04/02/2007 12:23:34 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: imintrouble
Katie Couric . . . is a personality - a lightweight personality.

Nothing more.

. . . but then, what else are journalists? Celebrities "don't exist" apart from PR, and neither do journalists. A journalist who breaks the cardinal rule of solidarity with the herd of "objective" journalists loses his standing in the guild and becomes "not objective, not a journalist."

Therefore journalists are creatures of PR, and the individual journalist is not powerful, the individual journalist is merely a celebrity. And I'm not merely speaking of anonymous journalists - I'm talking Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather when I say that.


26 posted on 04/02/2007 12:31:10 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

Agreed. If there were however only intellectual journalists and diarists, the public would pay scant attention.

The lightweight celebrities in the media only feed the need - the great maw of gossip.


27 posted on 04/02/2007 6:52:49 AM PDT by imintrouble
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion
I actually think that the "cardboard villian" is fixed. The "villain" is anyone who raises his profile by actually accomplishing something.

With exemptions for old mass media "pets" such as The Tribune Company who is currently stealing its employees' pension fund right under the very noses of media watchdogs. As we all know The Tribune Company also enjoys yet another exemption from criticism (a double indemnity so to speak) as one of the good old boys in big old mass media.
28 posted on 04/02/2007 12:30:43 PM PDT by Milhous (There are only two ways of telling the complete truth: anonymously and posthumously. - Thomas Sowell)
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To: Diogenesis; Doctor Raoul; monkapotamus; All

ROFL OH MONK and Dr Raoul LOL!


29 posted on 04/03/2007 11:25:44 AM PDT by SevenofNine ("We are Freepers, all your media belong to us, resistence is futile")
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To: Congressman Billybob
Careful, unbiased reporting would expose the democrat-socialists for the frauds that they are....

But note that that the fraudulent votes cast from the trailer park (bad/faked witness signatures from people bot witnessing!) were FOR a democrat. Implied of course, since the 82-year old who signed was a democrat, but not explicitly stated.

Now, where is the Justice Dept investigation of this?

Where is Gonzales when there IS a crime?

30 posted on 04/03/2007 11:36:34 AM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Katy Cholic is functioning just as See BS wants her to ... she’s an extension of the dnc propaganda machine. She need not be faithful to any norms or talent of a specific kind so long as she reads what they feed her and follows the talking points accurately.


31 posted on 04/05/2007 12:59:59 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you've had life support. Promote life support for others.)
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