Former “Today” show host Katie Couric said she edited an interview with late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to “protect” her.
In her new scathing tell-all “Going There,” Couric wrote that she cut out Ginsburg’s condemnation of kneeling during the national anthem after a 2016 sitdown interview, despite former head of ABC News David Westin encouraging her not to.
“She’s on the Supreme Court. People should hear what she thinks,” Couric said Westin told her, but she believed the issue of racial justice was a “blind spot” for the then sitting Supreme Court judge.
Couric explained that she “lost a lot of sleep over” the decision, and still wrestles with it to this day, but ultimately “wanted to protect” Ginsburg from the backlash she believed her comments would receive.
During the interview, Couric asked what justice thought about the criticism former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick received for kneeling during the anthem to protest racial justice at NFL games.
“Would I arrest them for doing it? No, ‘I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning,” the trailblazing feminist remarked. “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.”
Couric then asked if she thought athletes were in their legal rights to protest, to which Ginsburg replied, “Yes. 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,”’ she continued.
At the time, Couric sought counsel from New York Times journalist David Brooks, who thought Ginsburg might have not understood the question, despite being a sitting judge. But her opinion seems fully formed and quite clear from her remarks on the subject.
Ginsburg went on to explain that kneeling during the anthem shows “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.”
The day following the interview, the head of public affairs for the Supreme Court emailed to ask if the commentary could be removed from the final edit, as Ginsburg had “misspoken.” Couric, an admitted “big RBG fan” ultimately covered up the remarks, only including Ginsburg’s criticism that the protestors were “stupid” and “arrogant.”