The Katie Couric “Grilling”

Wingnuts are all upset about the CBS debate last night, and my initial reaction was “Why’d you schedule a Saturday night debate during football season?” But then I read the Politio write-up:

But CBS already navigates conservative distrust over Dan Rather’s botched report raising questions about George W. Bush’s National Guard service in 2004 and Katie Couric’s grilling of Sarah Palin in 2008 — and Bachmann’s campaign manager said the candidate’s debate treatment flew in the face of assurances from CBS Vice President Chris Isham that the Bachmann would get a fair shot at the debate.

Let’s remember what constitutes an unfair grilling by Katie Couric:

COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this — to stay informed and to understand the world?

PALIN: I’ve read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media —

COURIC: But which ones specifically? I’m curious.

PALIN: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.

COURIC: Can you name any of them?

PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news. Alaska isn’t a foreign country, where, it’s kind of suggested and it seems like, ‘Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C. may be thinking and doing when you live up there in Alaska?’ Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.

Reporter: Name a newspaper you read, Gov. Palin.

Entire wingnut hive mind: LIBERAL MEDIA BIAS HOW DARE YOU TREAT HER LIKE THIS.

If you want to know what Republicans think are fair questions, think of the old SNL Jeopardy skits. The only thing you are allowed to ask them are things like “S words” and “Name a color that ends in -urple.”

87 replies
  1. 1

    Oh yeah, and Politico is the elite liberal media…

    Well hell, somebody must be?

  2. 2
    schrodinger's cat says:

    We need Tunch and his healing qualities to get over the horrors of these debates. Please can we has Tunch now?

  3. 3
    Nutella says:

    Of course “give me an example” is a tough grilling when you don’t have any examples.

    We wonder why interviewers don’t ask followup questions. It’s because they’ll be accused of vicious partisanship just for saying “give me an example”.

  4. 4
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I honestly don’t think the idiots understand precisely how idiotic this complaint that Katie Couric was asking a “gotcha” question of a fucking governor is.

    I was asked a very similar question when I was on jury duty 30 odd years ago, and was able to answer it in detail on the spot.

    The answer, of course, was an honest one. She never bothered to keep herself informed.

  5. 5
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    The proper question is something like “Governor Palin, does it offend your noble countenance when the peasants do you the disservice of disagreeing with you? Take as much time as you like to answer. Martini?” At least, that’s what it must be, because they poop themselves in rage over anything else.

  6. 6
    gogol's wife says:

    Depressing, depressing, depressing.

  7. 7
    MattF says:

    To be sort-of-fair, Couric was really asking “Do you ever actually read anything?” Which was obviously biased. Since everyone with a brain in their skulls knew that the honest answer was ‘No’.

  8. 8
    FlipYrWhig says:

    That wasn’t the only embarrassing moment — there was also a bit about how many times McCain had voted for… something, which Palin ultimately answered with “I’ll have to get back to ya.”

  9. 9
    El Cid says:

    Come on. Really? Would any of us ever be able to remember the name of a newspaper we read if someone asked us that question out of the blue?

    When you really think about it, it isn’t a simple question. I mean, first, you have to read. Second, you have to be familiar with what newspapers are, and how they would be different than other reading material such as books or recipes. Third, you’d have to actually be able to locate and acquire a newspaper, and not just once, but several times.

    And not only would you have to recognize and track down and obtain newspapers more than once, you’d have to sit down and read it. They have far more than 1 or 2 pages.

    A single article could have several thousand words!

    After doing all that, who on Earth could remember what they had read on an earlier page, much less the name of the newspaper?

    No wonder Katie Couric abandoned her journalistic ‘objectivity’ in order to lob such a brutish ‘gotcha’ question at Sarah Palin, Commander in Chief of the Alaska National Guard, our last line of defense against Russian ICBM’s.

  10. 10
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    I only saw headlines about this but I loved the one that read “CBS Response: “She’s at four percent in the polls!”

    Let’s face it, trying to lavish enough attention on Bachmann to match her distorted sense of self-importance is a losing proposition pretty much by definition.

  11. 11
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @El Cid: What’s a “newspaper”?

    Edit: Oh wait I remember. A kind of primitive ancestor of things like my NYT app on the iPhone. Papyrus, weren’t they?

  12. 12
    JPL says:

    Palin had an unfortunate discussion with Charlie already and her operatives thought Katie would give her softball type of questions. Oh yeah, Katie did give her easy questions. It was the answers that were problematic.

  13. 13
    gogol's wife says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Wasn’t that one about which Supreme Court decision she disagreed with?

  14. 14
    scav says:

    What are we supposed to do, eat our presidents raw? I prefer my commander in chief very well done, char marks on both sides, than you very much. Side of fries with that.

  15. 15
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    “Name a color that ends in -urple.”

    Let me see…

    Yeelurple?

    Oranurple?

    Rurple?

    Oh, now that is a REAL “gotcha!” question…

  16. 16
    Professor says:

    @El Cid: Please don’t use the expression; ‘different than’. It is grammatically WRONG. Please use ‘different from’ or ‘different to’. Whenever I hear or read ‘different than’, I just want to puke! Thank you.

  17. 17
    Hunter Gathers says:

    Sean Connery: Well, the game is afoot. I’ll take anal bum cover for 7,000.

    Alex Trebek: That’s An album cover, not anal bum cover.

    Sean Connery: I can read, Trebek. That says Anal bum cover. I’ve spent five years of my life trying to invent an anal bum cover, failing to do so is my greatest regret.

  18. 18
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @El Cid:

    You’re quite right.

    Only Superman could possibly read thousands of words in a single hour.

    I mean, leaping tall buildings in a single bound is child’s play in comparison…

  19. 19
    JPL says:

    @gogol’s wife: She stumbled on that one. I’m not sure why she didn’t say Griswold v CT because it’s apparent she is not a proponent of birth control.

  20. 20
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Katie Couric’s grilling of Sarah Palin in 2008

    Somehow a cookbook on how to grill Republicans does not seem to me to be a winner. Leaves a bad taste in a reader’s mouth.

    I do think a cookbook by Bachmann on Stir Fry for Crazy has a shot of breaking into the bestseller list.

  21. 21
    gogol's wife says:

    And I was never much of a fan of Couric before that, but it was beautiful the way she just sat quietly and waited for an answer. There was no “grilling.” She asked a simple question and waited for an answer, that’s all. It was beautiful.

  22. 22
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Fair is fair.

    CBS should NOT be hosting debates for Republican candidates.

    The Hoi polloi demand CBS create a version of Survivor for the Republican candidates. Think of the ratings!

  23. 23
    Citizen Alan says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    It was, IIRC, name a Supreme Court opinion other than Roe v. Wade, that you disagree with. And the amazing thing was that I’d seen a press interview she’d given not three months earlier bitterly condemning the Supreme Court opinion overturning the Exxon Valdez verdict, and she either completely forgot about it or else was so afraid that complaining about a pro-corporatist opinion might get her into trouble with the base that she forgot about it. Plus, who in the last ten years is even tangentially involved in government and/or politics and hasn’t heard of Kelo! That case was MADE for Republican demagoguery!

  24. 24
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Citizen Alan: Thanks, I didn’t remember the specifics. I should have known better than to subject myself to such a grilling.

  25. 25
    birthmarker says:

    @Citizen Alan: The Valdez question was the ultimate softball, and now I now why she didn’t name that case. Always wondered. She considered it political dynamite.

  26. 26
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Professor:

    Well, I think differently than you.

  27. 27
    4jkb4ia says:

    An actual newspaper and an actual reporter, Michael Shear, that I think John respects has told us that Gingrich is gaining popularity because he mocks the questions at all these debates.

    To try to bring the snark, this was a foreign policy debate and wingnuts probably don’t accept the premises of any of the questions.

  28. 28

    Katie Couric is a cookbook!

  29. 29
    Svensker says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    And I was never much of a fan of Couric before that, but it was beautiful the way she just sat quietly and waited for an answer. There was no “grilling.” She asked a simple question and waited for an answer, that’s all. It was beautiful.

    I think Couric was actually expecting a bonding “girls together” thing to happen with that interview and couldn’t imagine someone not being able to answer “what newspapers do you read”. So when La Palin couldn’t answer, Couric didn’t get that Sarah was panicking, she was just calmly waiting for the normal human response a la “oh, the local paper and the NY Times and the Washington Post, of course. And I’ve always loved the WSJ, blah blah blah.” Seems to me Couric was simply gobsmacked by that level of incompetence/ignorance/stupidity. As were all of us 73%

  30. 30
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    Could it be that the confusion on the floor when she spoke of her husband the proud member of a union at the convention had been brought to her attention, and that helped to dampen her memory of her bitter denunciation of the Exxon Valdez decision?

    The delegates did not know how to react when she spoke of Todd’s union membership in a positive sense at the convention…they were audibly torn…the applause trailed off and it seemed they were on the verge of breaking out into catcalls.

  31. 31
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @WereBear (itouch):

    Ok, that caused me to startle the cat…

  32. 32
    PeakVT says:

    Benen nutpicked a hilarious quote from Bachmann: If you look at China, they don’t have food stamps. If you look at China, they’re in a very different situ — they save for their own retirement security. They don’t have pay FDIC. They don’t have the modern welfare state. And China’s growing.

    Um, yeah.

  33. 33

    It is both sick and reassuring that conservative positions have become so toxic that getting their politicians elected requires the hiring of the dumbest figureheads on earth, the positioning of the most ass-kissing of shills, the domination of all corporate media; all to capture the votes of the most vicious and dysfunctional slice of the possible electorate, and they still need to cheat to win.

  34. 34
    realbtl says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I’m surprised that you of all people didn’t see that any question asked of a Republican exists as both fair and gotcha until said question is answered (or not).

  35. 35
    4jkb4ia says:

    I guess it gets better, because both Marc Thiessen and Tom Maguire thought that Pelley was talking down to Gingrich.

  36. 36
    cathyx says:

    I remember a funny jeopardy question/answer when Ken Jennings was on. The answer: An immoral pleasure seeker which is also the name of a garden tool. Ken’s question: What is a hoe?

  37. 37
    El Cid says:

    @Professor: I would have gotten it correct, but I was just completely rattled by the painful memory of Couric’s verbal torture of Governor Palin.

  38. 38
    Lojasmo says:

    I literally never read newspapers or magazines. I doubt that the snowbilly grifter does either, though she lacks the honesty to admit it.

  39. 39
    Cacti says:

    The worst part about the conservative version of a “gotcha” question, was that it literally had hundreds of answers, any one of which could be legitimate…

    But she managed to come up with the one and only obvious bullshit answer because she couldn’t think of the name of ONE SINGLE FUCKING NEWSPAPER!

  40. 40
    Rick Taylor says:

    If you want to know what Republicans think are fair questions, think of the old SNL Jeopardy skits.

    Unless of course they’re interviewing someone like Obama. Then questions about what his refusal to where an American flag pin says about whether he loves his country are fair and judicious.

  41. 41
    BGinCHI says:

    Classic Bachmann/Wingnut response:

    “It’s everyone else’s fault!”

    “I’m low in the polls and it’s the media’s fault!”

    If it weren’t for the stupid media, lady, you’d be wailing away at a VFW or in an empty park about shit no one cares about or even understands.

    Take a hint. It’s not us. It’s you.

  42. 42
    cathyx says:

    @Lojasmo: But the huge difference is you’re not running for Vice President of the United States.

  43. 43
    Rick Taylor says:

    Even more representative of this was Katie Couric asking Palin how being governor of Alaska gave her foreign policy experience. Palin knew the question was coming, it had been in the news,she had plenty of time to prepare and answer, and that’s when we got when Putin rears his head . . .

  44. 44
    Nicole says:

    @Cacti:

    But she managed to come up with the one and only obvious bullshit answer because she couldn’t think of the name of ONE SINGLE FUCKING NEWSPAPER!

    Also not unusual with conservatives. I was attacked on a political thread by a right-winger when I referred to her getting her news from right-wing sources and she got very huffy about how I didn’t know what news sources she read and how dare I imply she got her news from right-wing outlets. I apologized for the assumption and asked her where she went to get her news and got many angry responses, calling me everything from crazy to some things I won’t repeat, but never, ever, did she actually answer the question. Heh.

  45. 45
    Tom Q says:

    @cathyx: Did you happen to be watching last week, when, in the category Geometric Shapes, the answer was: If John is in love with Mary, and Mary is in love with Steve, they are said to be involved in this — and the contestant said, What is a Threesome?

  46. 46
    JPL says:

    The following day her staff released a list of newspapers and magazines. On the list was The Economist. hahaha

  47. 47
    JPL says:

    @Tom Q: Classic!

    @Rick Taylor: What happened to the flag pin? Did the rethugs decide that it was no longer needed as a prop?

  48. 48
    Gex says:

    @JPL: The biggie being Roe v. Wade, I think. I thought she’d also be really pissed off by Lawrence v. Texas.

    So many good choices for her. It’s funny that we know her positions better than she does.

    ETA: I see that she was not supposed to chose Roe v. Wade. Carry on.

  49. 49
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @PeakVT:

    They don’t have to pay FDIC.

    Okay so I knew a right wing Republican talking point was that working class Americans don’t pay enough income tax, but now they’re complaining that the Chinese don’t pay into FDIC??

    Granted, it would solve some balance sheet problems if we could talk them into it.

  50. 50
    Lojasmo says:

    @cathyx:

    The other difference is that I would simply explain my disdain for mainstream media, and a preference for individual research.

    Or, you know, anything rather than nothing. I could easily have lied as well.

    ETA also, too.

  51. 51
    PPOG Penguin says:

    So, Bachmann thinks that broadcasters should be required to give her equal time to put her case? This sounds awfully like some soshulist doctrine of fairness… some sort of… Fairness Doctrine perhaps?

    Shouldn’t she be setting up her own competing debates like the entrepreneurial tiger she is, and let the free market decide?

  52. 52
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Cacti:

    But she managed to come up with the one and only obvious bullshit answer because she couldn’t think of the name of ONE SINGLE FUCKING NEWSPAPER!

    Including the Anchorage Daily News, the Juneau Empire, and the Wasilla Frontiersman.

  53. 53
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Tom Q: That is really funny.

    Reminds me of back in the 70s in Berkeley when you’d go to certain people’s houses and they’d be having a dodecahedron right there at the party.

  54. 54
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: I assume she meant FICA. God I hope so. She was, after all, some kind of tax lawyer before getting into politics.

  55. 55
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Gives a whole new meaning to Bucky Balls.

  56. 56
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I think having them insure our deposits would just make us the biggest “too big to fail” yet, basically.

    God knows what she was talking about, not me.

  57. 57
    birthmarker says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Such a lack of basic understanding about China.

    From Wikipedia about China and poverty levels.

    The number of people living on less than $2/day is approximately 468 million, or 36% of the population, according to 2009 estimates.

    Is this what we aspire to now?

  58. 58
    Roger Moore says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    The proper question is something like “Governor Palin, does it offend your noble countenance when the peasants do you the disservice of disagreeing with you? Take as much time as you like to answer. Martini?”

    I think the correct question is:

    Mr. Burns Governor Palin: your campaign seems to have the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why are you so popular?”

  59. 59
    Citizen_X says:

    @WereBear (itouch):

    Katie Couric is a cookbook!

    Oh, you laugh, but To Serve Republicans is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks.

  60. 60
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @birthmarker: People like Michelle Bachmann have been mixing up the most basic concepts for years now. I mean, she’s pointing to a Communist country and claiming that they’re more free-market-oriented than we are?

  61. 61
    PeakVT says:

    @birthmarker: Conservatives have always aspired to be the few rich among vast numbers of poor people.

  62. 62
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @PPOG Penguin:

    So, Bachmann thinks that broadcasters should be required to give her equal time to put her case? This sounds awfully like some soshulist doctrine

    That’s really the funny part, similar to the way they’re often going on about how their “1st amendment rights” are being violated because some newspaper or broadcaster fires them for saying dangerously insane things.

    It’s as if they want big government to regulate companies far beyond what any of the rest of us would ask, once they’re feeling victimized by something.

  63. 63
    birthmarker says:

    @PeakVT: Yeah, but 468 million people? Almost half again the US population–in abject poverty? Less than $2 a day? And she admires anything about that society?

    How can the woman be so freaking uninformed and be on that stage?

    President Bachmann. Enough said.

  64. 64
    Roger Moore says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    I mean, she’s pointing to a Communist country and claiming that they’re more free-market-oriented than we are?

    Why does Michele Bachmann hate America? Doesn’t she believe we’re the best country ever at everything, the way Real Americans(TM) are supposed to?

  65. 65
    RossInDetroit says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    I mean, she’s pointing to a Communist country and claiming that they’re more free-market-oriented than we are?

    China’s desperate for growth. They pay people next to no interest on their bank accounts. Inflation is much more than ours, which eats into the value of savings. Wages are low for most. The banks lend to any state owned company and lots of those loans go sour. They’re basically eroding their workers’ security from both ends in a desperate bid to industrialize. You can argue whether this strategy is good for the country overall, but for a large proportion of workers it’s grindingly hard.

  66. 66
    Gex says:

    @PeakVT: How else are you gonna feel good about yourself? By trying to be a good person?!?!

  67. 67
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @RossInDetroit: Well as someone pointed out, the tea party oligarchy-worshippers would naturally be attracted to certain parts of a system like that. However it’s also a Communist country, and even having state-owned businesses is the opposite of everything that someone like Bachmann preaches….. meh. Here we are trying to make sense of the logic stylings of Michelle Bachmann. There be brain dragons.

  68. 68
    Rick Taylor says:

    @JPL:

    What happened to the flag pin? Did the rethugs decide that it was no longer needed as a prop?

    Good question! I don’t know. It just didn’t have the staying power of teleprompters, or his birth certificate.

  69. 69
    Chris says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    It’s as if they want big government to regulate companies far beyond what any of the rest of us would ask, once they’re feeling victimized by something.

    Like I posted here before… they’d never put it this way, but they’re not AT ALL big fans of capitalism.

    Which explains why, as someone else posted here before, it’s relatively easy to troll them with quotes from Adam Smith.

  70. 70
    Ruckus says:

    @birthmarker:
    Is this what we aspire to now?

    It sure looks like what the rethughlicans aspire to. Feels like it as well.

  71. 71
    catclub says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I am thinking AFDC. It is a program for the poor, after all.

    But FICA might be another choice if you don’t know that FICA is social security…. a la Palin.

  72. 72
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Citizen_X:

    Oh, you laugh, but To Serve Republicans is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks.

    Milk-fed, well-marbled, with no muscle fibre to speak of — I tell my dinner guests to think of it as “long veal”.

  73. 73
    Anonymous At Work says:

    Don’t forget “Potent Potables”. Need to consider what the alcoholic equivalent would be for the GOP. Maybe “Inappropriate Sexual Positions”?

  74. 74
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Chris:

    they’re not AT ALL big fans of capitalism.

    Oh it’s clear to me that dictatorship is what the tea party Republicans prefer. Herman Cain was going on today about what a terrible thing it was to have all these countries overthrowing their leaders, how Obama had taken the wrong side and so on.

  75. 75
    efgoldman says:

    @Citizen_X:

    Oh, you laugh, but To Serve Republicans is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks.

    And we enter the Twilight Zone, where the GOBP Klown Kar has been the whole time…

  76. 76
    Jamie says:

    @JPL:

    That’s really the thing – Katie fucking Kouric as an attack-journalist? And now we are supposed to take Breitbart’s minions seriously?

    The disturbing thing isn’t that this clown crew wields so much power. The disturbing thing is that they are so fucking incompetent.

  77. 77
    serge says:

    I wonder if they believe that Groucho Marx’s famous question would be pernicious, unfair, beyond the pale, a gotcha question…”Who’s buried in Grant’s tomb?”

    Ask Herb Cain.

  78. 78
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Lojasmo: But you’re here, reading a blog and writing a comment. I sincerely doubt that La Palin reads blogs — of any type.

  79. 79
    shoutingattherain says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Milk-fed, well-marbled, with no muscle fibre to speak of—I tell my dinner guests to think of it as “long veal”.

    Tastes like chicken, hawk.

  80. 80
    John Weiss says:

    @MikeBoyScout: How about no one should be hosting Republican debates? Gods what a waste of time and electrons. I’m going to read a book.

  81. 81
    El Cid says:

    @RossInDetroit: Of course, there are still some 900 million peasants in China, so perhaps Bachmann et al prefer a ‘drive the intellectuals out of the cities’ type society.

  82. 82
    gene108 says:

    As far as “liberal media” bias goes, we need to understand for right-wingers, Rush Limbaugh is a centrist. Anything to the left of Limbaugh demonstrates a liberal bias.

    In a nutshell the right-wing power structure wants to make it so that there is no reporting or commentary that is to the left of Limbaugh. They want him to be the default position, by which the rest of the media is judged.

  83. 83
    Rome Again says:

    How else can idiots compete for such positions as high government officials unless we accept that idiots are okay in those positions?

    ARGH!

  84. 84
    Rome Again says:

    @PeakVT:

    Apparently she wants them to own our banks?

  85. 85
    Paul in KY says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: No silly, the correct answer is lemurple!

    To the tumbrel with you.

  86. 86
    4jkb4ia says:

    Kevin Drum seems to think she said FICA. Otherwise it was a profoundly stupid thing to say. You cannot hold Solyndra in your head and not acknowledge that Chinese subsidies helped bring them down as much as their own poor management.

    My favorite parts of that post were Ron Paul on torture and “Ed. Note–Huntsman is right about the WTO”. Otherwise, to quote John from a long time ago, it was just a sea of stupid.

  87. 87
    Paul in KY says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I think the Wasilla paper is called ‘The Tweaker’.

    There was also ‘The Tattler’. She could have mentioned that one.

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