On Tuesday’s “Late Show,” host Stephen Colbert asked journalist and “Going There” author Katie Couric about a controversial part of her new memoir where she admits to leaving out provocative quotes from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg about NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s protest against brutality in 2016.
Kaepernick started kneeling during the national anthem to bring attention to police brutality and systemic racism, which sparked a firestorm of controversy that’s still raging thanks to news stories like this one about RBG. At the time of Kaepernick’s protest, Couric did an interview with Ginsburg where the liberal judicial icon called Kaepernick’s protest “dumb,” “disrespectful,” and “arrogant.”
But rather than allow the public to know the full extent of what Ginsburg said, Couric chose to not publish the justice’s harshest comments after someone from Ginsburg’s office called her and said Ginsburg hadn’t really been following Kaepernick’s protest and “misspoke.”
“I was like, ‘Does she not understand it, does she not really understand what Colin Kaepernick was doing?’ And, you know, honestly, the human side of me was like, ‘She’s older, is she confused about it?’” Couric said. “But then I realized I had to share her views. There was one statement that I thought I didn’t quite understand what she meant. I didn’t ask a follow-up saying, ‘Can you clarify that?’ And I ended up not using it.” Couric said the quote she didn’t use was something about how Kaepernick and his parents should realize how fortunate they are versus the countries they came from and that’s why education is so important. It was very unclear to Couric and those whom she asked for advice about the situation what Ginsburg was talking about.
But how Couric handled the incident still bothers her enough that she wanted to include it in the book. She regrets not asking a follow-up question and regrets not including the quote in the published interview, which did include some of what Ginsburg said about Kaepernick. She’s coming forward and admitting she protected Ginsburg at the public’s expense because she thinks the way to restore faith in the media is for members of the media to admit when they’ve made a mistake. “NBC should be able to say ‘We shouldn’t have sat on the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape so the Washington Post had to publicize that story,” she said. She wants the media to own up to errors in judgment.
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