Accuracy in Media

CBS is prepping for a power play designed to get Katie Couric and the rest of the network’s news division out of the ratings basement — and that could be bad news for America.

Associated Press reports that CBS will be airing a lengthy turn-of-the-decade series titled “Where America Stands.” The network will cover everything from health care and the military to the economy and crime. Reports will air on “CBS Evening News,” “The Early Show” and “Face The Nation,” as well as on the company’s radio and online outlets.

The potential bad news for America is that CBS has a poor track record of fair and balanced reporting on any of the chosen topics.

CBS News president Sean McManus mentioned the network’s “Children Of The Recession” series earlier this year as a model for the forthcoming project, and the recession reports were anything but objective. Brent Baker of NewsBusters critiqued them:

Katie Couric sees America through a very dark prism. On Monday, she launched a new “Children Of The Recession” series, in collaboration with USA Today, with an op-ed in “the nation’s newspaper” in which she speculated today’s kids may become the “Recession Generation” since “in some ways, I think they already are,” or the “innocent victims could become the Lost Generation.”

Then, on Monday’s CBS Evening News, she portrayed America as in such a bad way that it reminded her of the Great Depression, asserting the impact of the recession “may be” to children “what the depression was to an earlier generation.” In a story on the “Safe Families for Children” program that helps overwhelmed families hand their kids temporarily to other families, Couric raised the most ominous comparison: “Volunteer families stepping in during tough times is reminiscent of the Great Depression when parents in dire straits sent their children to live with relatives or other people in the community.”

In the May 18 USA Today op-ed, “The recession’s tiniest victims need help, too,” Couric denigrated the kind of news she’s presented as dealing with “things and places that are cold, vague, incomprehensible” (quite an endorsement for her newscast!), before pivoting to how the real news is an anecdote-based recounting of the plight of a few kids.

Odds are good that CBS will view America through that same “dark prism” in its new series — unless the network decides to emphasize how much “hope” and “change” President Obama has brought to the nation, and in that case, the reports undoubtedly will be glowing, albeit with artificial light.

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