Longtime television journalist Katie Couric admitted in her new book that she edited out late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s comments criticizing kneeling athletes in a 2016 interview, The Daily Mail reports.
Ginsburg in 2016 told Couric in a Yahoo News interview that it was “really dumb” for NFL players to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.
“Would I arrest them for doing it? No,” Ginsburg said. “I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”
“But when it comes to these football players, you may find their actions offensive, but what you’re saying is, it’s within their rights to exercise those actions?” Couric asked.
“Yes,” said Ginsburg. “If they want to be stupid, there’s no law that should be preventive. If they want to be arrogant, there’s no law that prevents them from that. What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”
Couric edited out key part:
Couric in her new book “Going There” wrote that she edited out a part of the interview in which Ginsburg said that kneeling during the anthem showed “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life… Which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from...as they became older they realize that this was youthful folly. And that's why education is important.”
Couric wrote that she believed Ginsburg was “elderly and probably didn’t fully understand the question.” A press agent for the Supreme Court told her that Ginsburg had “misspoken.”
Couric wrote that she called New York Times columnist David Brooks, who advised her that Ginsburg probably did not understand the question while former ABC News chief David Westin urged her to leave the remark in.
Couric wanted to “protect” RBG:
Couric wrote that she “lost a lot of sleep over this one” but “wanted to protect” Ginsburg and felt that racial justice was a “blind spot” for her.
But Couric was roundly criticized for cutting the comment.
"This is toxic on a lot of levels," said New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.
"Completely indefensible for Katie Couric to withhold this from the public to protect a *sitting Supreme Court Justice*," wrote New Republic columnist Natalie Shure.
“I too always like to omit the most newsworthy and interesting parts from all my interviews with important and powerful people,” mocked journalist Ben Jacobs.