Super Bowl No Place for Obama Interview

Monday, 08 Feb 2010 07:46 AM

By Lowell Ponte

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The Super Bowl is supposed to be an event where football fans can forget worldly worries for a day by submerging themselves in beer, pizza, new funny ads, and sportscaster predictions and postmortems — and focus on the contest between the two NFL teams who made it to the final showdown.

So why did CBS, the network carrying this game, cut away during Sunday's pregame for a 10-minute (it felt like an hour) interview of President Barack Obama with "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric?

Was America suffering withdrawal symptoms from going a few hours without Obama's relentless appearances on our TVs?

Americans have come to expect a brief appearance by presidents on Super Bowl weekend but usually by telephone after the game, and then only to congratulate the winners.

Few presidents would try forcing partisan politics down everybody's throat during such an event, even if it is the biggest TV audience of the year.

But Couric, whose dismal ratings and $15 million annual pay have sparked rumors she may soon be fired, began her interview by asking Mr. Obama whether he will press ahead on healthcare legislation.

Couric clearly looked stressed inside this media man-cave, apparently because she knew that more than 100 million annoyed American males were thinking, "Go back to the pregame, and get this ego-freak politician out of our face."

These viewers might be Republicans or Democrats on other days, but on Super Sunday, they all are activists in the Football Party.

They did not buy expensive big screens so they could count the president's nose hairs in high definition — and on this day they wanted to forget the weak leader now responsible for our nation's problems.

Couric became a star by doing empathetic touchy-feely interviews on NBC's "Today Show." Her supportive interview with President Obama was full of softball questions and an embarrassing lack of challenge when the president delivered the usual partisan propaganda line in support of his agenda.

Couric implicitly endorsed Mr. Obama's partisan claims with her unquestioning, nodding acceptance.

This de facto infomercial for Obama and the Democratic Party was slipped into Super Bowl programming on which one minute of advertising could cost up to $5 million.

CBS gave this politician about 10 such minutes for free, in effect making a campaign contribution to President Obama and the Democrats worth up to $50 million.

This is the perversity Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy referred to in writing the 5-4 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that recently struck down most of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law restrictions on corporate and union political free speech.

That law, Justice Kennedy noted, effectively exempted media corporations from rules constraining speech by other corporations, even though giant media companies may be part of conglomerate enterprises that can profit by influencing government.

Case in point: General Electric has long owned NBC, whose news coverage on both NBC and left-skewed cable channel MSNBC has promoted "green" ideas that sell GE light bulbs and other products. We may never know whether these entities spiked news stories that might have hurt GE's profits.

NBC and MSNBC were exempt from the McCain-Feingold gag shoved into the mouths of other corporations.

Who at CBS ordered the insertion of this Obama interview into Super Bowl programming?

Was it Les Moonves, the CBS boss who a few years ago joined a handful of fellow liberal media barons to party in Havana? Afterwards Moonves declared that he counts his time with Fidel Castro as among his life's most cherished moments.

Was it Couric? Couric and her sister were raised by a left-liberal network journalist father.

Couric's sister, who was a leader of the Democratic Party in the Virginia Legislature before her death, once told reporters that she grew up in a family where capital-D "Democrat" was thought of as the "default setting" for human beings.

To be anything else, such as a Republican, was less than human.

Couric once referred on air to President Ronald Reagan as an "airhead," but she has praised now-retired Marxist dictator and mass murderer Fidel Castro, as well as communist Cuba.

Or was it the ghost of Don Hewitt, who boasted as executive producer of CBS' "60 Minutes" that he helped elect Bill Clinton with a 1992 interview aired immediately after a Super Bowl broadcast?

Hewitt gave the Clintons the interview questions in advance, as well as the option to keep redoing "takes" until they produced the infomercial they desired.

We should now rename the Clinton BS network as OBS, the "Obama Shill Network."

During Super Bowl halftime when The Who closed with their song lyrics "We don't get fooled again . . . Meet the new boss, same as the old boss," the audience cheered wildly.

The old partisan politics of President Obama, fast-sinking Katie Couric, and Democratic sycophant CBS no longer fool Americans the way they once did.



Lowell Ponte is co-host of NightWatch, a radio talk show that airs nationwide from 10 p.m. to midnight Eastern Time Monday-Friday via gcnlive.com.

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