CBS News’ Katie Couric Labels Pro-Life View on Abortion "Repugnant"

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 5, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

CBS News’ Katie Couric Labels Pro-Life View on Abortion "Repugnant" Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 5
, 2006

New York, NY ( — CBS News’ main anchor Katie Couric is coming under fire for saying some viewers may consider the pro-life views of a recent guest "repugnant." Her statement came after a father of a victim of the Columbine shootings, responding to the recent shooting at an Amish school, said abortion has cheapened people’s view of life.

As part of its new evening news format, which Couric hosts, CBS News features a "free speech" segment which allows a wide range of people to comment on issues and headlines of the day.

CBS News featured Denver resident Brian Rohrbough, whose 15-year-old son Daniel was killed in the Columbine massacre. In his interview, aired nationally on the program, Rohrbough said abortion has caused a dimmer view of the sanctity of human life.

"I am saddened and shaken by the shooting at an Amish school today and last week’s school murders," Rohrbough said. "When my son Dan was murdered on the sidewalk at Columbine High School on April 20th, 1999, I hoped that would be the last school shooting."

"Since that day, I tried to answer the question why did this happen?" Rohrbough added.

"This country is in a moral free fall. For over two generations, the public school system has taught in a moral vacuum," he explained. "We teach there are no absolutes, no right or wrong. And I assure you, the murder of innocent children is always wrong, including by abortion."

"Abortion has diminished the value of children," Rohrbough, who is a member of the board of directors of Colorado Right to Life, said.

Reacting to criticism from abortion advocates that he appeared on the show, Couric, on her Internet blog, wrote, "We knew when we decided to put on this segment that a lot of people would disagree with it. We also knew some might even find it repugnant."

In an op-ed responding to Couric, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly criticized her remarks.

"Repugnant? Why would any fair-minded person find Mr. Rohrbough’s opinion repugnant?" O’Reilly asked. "You can disagree with the man, but using a word like "repugnant" marginalizes his legitimate opinion. Millions of Americans see it the way Mr. Rohrbough does."

"Now I don’t believe Ms. Couric meant to demean the man, but her words reflect the elitist attitude common in network news and in the general media," O’Reilly added. "Using the word ‘repugnant’ might restore Ms. Couric’s cocktail party credibility, but it is an unfortunate choice of words."

Rohrbough has been attacked on the left-wing blogs and on the CBS News Web site.

"I do applaud CBS News for giving Mr. Rohrbough a platform, but everyone can see how uncomfortable it has made the network. That should not be the case," O’Reilly said.