Speed Reads

'cardinal rule'

Katie Couric grilled on Today about editing RBG interview: 'How did you justify that?'

Katie Couric faced some tough questions during her return to Today about one particularly eyebrow-raising admission from her new book.

The former Today co-anchor was grilled by Savannah Guthrie in an interview Tuesday about a portion of her memoir where she describes withholding a quote from a 2016 interview with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in which the late Supreme Court justice criticized those who kneel during the national anthem. 

"How did you justify that?" Guthrie asked. "It violates a cardinal rule of journalism to do that."  

Couric defended herself by saying that journalists "make editorial decisions like that all the time" and that she wasn't sure exactly what Ginsburg meant in the quote that was edited out of the interview. Couric also noted that she did include a quote in which Ginsburg called kneeling during the national anthem disrespectful, which she argued was the most "pertinent" bit. Guthrie pointed out, though, that Couric in the book described having a desire to "protect" Ginsburg

"That's not an occasion where you're using that objectivity that's so important to us journalists, and the question is whether that undermines journalism at a time when reporters are under attack for bias like that," Guthrie said. 

Ultimately, Couric conceded that she should have included the full quote in the interview, while still arguing it's "really important to look at what I did include." 

Couric also spoke on Today about her former co-anchor Matt Lauer, who was fired from the show in 2017 over alleged sexual misconduct. She called the allegations against Lauer "upsetting and disturbing" and said she no longer has a relationship with him. 

"What I realized is that there was a side of Matt I never really knew," she said. "And I tried to understand why he behaved the way he did and why he was so reckless and callous and honestly abusive to other women."