Journalist Katie Couric selectively edited her 2016 interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by omitting negative comments the justice made about those who kneel during the national anthem, she admitted in her new memoir.
Their 2016 chat came in the midst of the furor of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest police brutality. Several other professional athletes began to take his lead and kneel instead of standing during the anthem. Ginsburg told Couric she was opposed to the action, saying those who kneel during the anthem were showing "contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life," according to new reporting by the Daily Mail.
Couric said she was "conflicted" about including the justice's comment because she was a "big RBG fan" and admitted to seeking advice from some fellow journalists about what to do. Ultimately, the story she wrote for Yahoo! News did include quotes from Ginsburg saying kneelers were "dumb and disrespectful," but left out the above remarks.
Couric wrote she wanted to "protect" Ginsburg, who died last year, and also suggested Ginsburg's office had some influence on the final product, according to the Mail. She called herself a "big RBG fan."
"Couric felt that when Ginsburg said that people like Kaepernick were 'dumb and disrespectful' they were comments that were 'unworthy of a crusader for equality' like the liberal Supreme Court justice," the Mail wrote, noting that the day after their sit-down, the head of public affairs for the Supreme Court emailed Couric to say the late justice had "misspoken" and asked that it be removed from the story.
Infuriated readers and reporters hit Couric for having acted more like an activist than a journalist.
"The Reload" founder Stephen Gutowski quipped, "I, for one, am shocked to hear Katie Couric would do something like this."
Gutowski, reporting for the Washington Free Beacon at the time, broke the story in 2016 that a Couric documentary edited her interview with pro-gun activists to make them look dumbfounded by one of her questions. The documentary showed them sitting in silence after she asked them about how to prevent terrorists and felons from purchasing guns without background checks, but in reality they immediately answered according to their own audio of the interview.
Couric and director Stephanie Soechtig defended the decision, but they were widely criticized for what appeared to be a deliberate effort to falsely make the gun rights supporters look foolish.
The RBG revelation was one of a few bombshells from Couric's memoir. Other excerpts from the book show Couric taking hits at fellow female journalists. Couric accused ABC's Diane Sawyer of exploiting the late Whitney Houston in their infamous interview in 2002. Couric, who always competed with Sawyer for interviews, also wondered what the ABC journalist did to score some of her high-profile interviews.
"That woman must be stopped," Couric said.