Bozell accused Couric of anti-Catholic bias for asking same questions of Domino's founder as ABC and CBS

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

In his column, L. Brent Bozell III attacked Katie Couric, co-host of NBC's Today, for being "so rough on Thomas Monaghan, the founder of Domino's Pizza, for being a Catholic" during a March 3 interview. Bozell claimed that "Couric's performance on NBC was so harsh it was jaw-dropping," as opposed to Monaghan's March 3 interviews on ABC and CBS, which Bozell described as "calm." In fact, most of the questions Bozell cited as evidence of Couric's anti-Catholic bias were also posed to Monaghan during his "calm" CBS and ABC interviews.

In his March 8 nationally syndicated column, Media Research Center (MRC) president L. Brent Bozell III attacked Katie Couric, co-host of NBC's Today, for being "so rough on Thomas Monaghan, the founder of Domino's Pizza, for being a Catholic." Citing specific questions Couric asked Monaghan during a March 3 interview, Bozell claimed that "Couric's performance on NBC was so harsh it was jaw-dropping," as opposed to Monaghan's March 3 interviews on ABC and CBS, which Bozell described as "calm." In fact, most of the questions Bozell cited as evidence of Couric's anti-Catholic bias were also posed to Monaghan during his "calm" CBS and ABC interviews.

According to a February 17 Associated Press article, Monaghan "has pledged more than $250 million" towards the construction of Ave Maria University -- a Catholic institution -- "and a surrounding town by the same name where planners expect to attract 20,000 residents." A March 3 AP article reported that Monaghan "backtracked" from "statements he made last year to a Catholic men's group in Boston that pornographic magazines won't be sold in town, pharmacies won't carry condoms or birth control pills, and cable television will carry no X-rated channels." On March 3, Monaghan and Paul Marinelli, president of Barron Collier Company, the development firm Monaghan has partnered with, appeared on Today, CBS' The Early Show, and ABC's Good Morning America.

Bozell wrote:

You'd think Katie Couric would aspire to be an anchorwoman for all the American people now that CBS appears to be wooing her for the Throne of Rather. So why did she have to be so rough on Thomas Monaghan, the founder of Domino's Pizza, for being a Catholic?

[...]

He poured millions upon millions of dollars into pro-life and Catholic philanthropy. Among other ventures, he founded Ave Maria University. After facing zoning problems with his first location in Michigan, Monaghan struck a deal in southern Florida, not to merely build a Catholic college, but a truly Catholic town, open to anyone aspiring to live in communion with traditional values.

That, of course, is when he earned the ire of Katie Couric. Monaghan and his developer partner Paul Marinelli appeared on the three network morning shows on March 3, but whereas ABC and CBS were calm, Couric's performance on NBC was so harsh it was jaw-dropping.

[...]

As NBC dutifully plastered the words "Catholic Town USA" on screen, Couric began pestering Monaghan about his hope that pharmacists would not sell contraceptives there. She asked about it four times. After four denials, she started dropping the bombs. "Some people," she claimed, think Catholic values might be "deemed wholesome, but in other ways, I think people will see this community as eschewing diversity and promoting intolerance." Marinelli refused to take the bait, instead calmly explained that this town was open to all people of all faiths with a "traditional family value perspective." Couric was unconvinced and shot back, "Does that mean you would welcome Jewish residents?" It was an ugly question with the veiled accusation of bigotry lurking just below the surface.

Bozell neglected to mention that Good Morning America anchor Bill Weir asked Monaghan and Marinelli essentially the same question: "Will Jews, Muslims, Baptists be welcome in this university in this town?" Early Show anchor Harry Smith asked a similar question: "Who's welcome? Who's going to be welcome then in Ave Maria? You say not just Catholics?"

Bozell went on:

And when she was done, she switched gears, clumsily dragging in words that suggest racism to the audience: "But do you think the tenets of the community might result in de facto segregation as a result of some of the beliefs that are being espoused by the majority of residents there?" What in the world was Couric imagining in Ave Maria, Fla. -- the great Catholic menace?

Again, Weir asked a similar question during the ABC interview: "Obviously, any time a like-minded group of people gets together in an idea to sort of isolate themselves from the rest of country, people are going to take umbrage with that. So, do you want to just do away with the perception that this will be an isolated community of Catholics, Catholics only?" As did Smith on CBS: "Well, then, that's where it gets complicated, then, because if you have public facilities in the town that has -- is supposed to be built on these kind of ideological principles, don't you then have to have it available, and have things open to it that would be available anywhere else in any other community?"

Bozell continued:

After pestering the Ave Maria duo about whether the cable TV system will be smutty enough, Couric returned to touting the "people" (and notice it's always "people" or "some people," never a source identified). "At the same time you can understand how people would hear some of these things and be, like, wow, this is really infringing on civil liberties and freedom of speech and right to privacy and all sorts of basic tenets this country was founded on? Right?"

Couric asked Marinelli, "[w]hat about cable?" after Marinelli said: "It is going to be a town that we are not going to have adult bookstores and topless bars, OK? We don't think that they coincide with traditional family values." Once again, Bozell did not note that Smith asked Marinelli on CBS: "But would you say then, would -- is your suggestion then to the cable franchisee that you don't offer X-rated cable to -- to the -- to the people who live in this community?"

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Religion
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L. Brent Bozell
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