We just covered the story last week about the preponderance of liberal commencement speakers as opposed to conservative ones this year at America’s prestigious universities. What we didn’t take time to do was delineate between the uplifting liberal speeches (you know, the “hopey/changey” ones) and the whiny victim liberal speeches. To do so would require actually reading or listening to them all – an unenviable task, to be sure.
Nonetheless, the folks over at the Media Research Center’s Newsbusters site did the work for us – at least in identifying one super whiny speech. Just imagine being a graduating senior at the University of Virginia and finding out that your commencement speaker was going to be Katie Couric. Good grief. Could they just mail me my diploma?
And for those of you who think it wouldn’t be that bad – that Katie would focus on the positive and on the graduates’ excitement towards the life before them – think again. Katie’s speech was about…well…Katie. But not just about her. More specifically, it was about how abused, mistreated, victimized she has been – and how she, because of her own greatness – managed to overcome it all. If you don’t believe me, check it out:
"The opportunity to become the first solo female anchor of a network evening newscast was hard to turn down. After all, when I started in TV news back in 1979, there were still plenty of guys who wanted to keep the broads out of broadcasting. Back then, 'harass' was considered two words, not one....
"The chance to show that a woman on her own could handle the job with intelligence and competence seemed worth the risk. But I quickly learned that getting out of your comfort zone can sometimes be, well, uncomfortable. And one of the problems with being a trailblazer is, sometimes you get burned.
"In those first few months at CBS, TV critics wrote about my clothes, my hair, my make-up, even the way I held my hands. Some said I lacked ‘gravitas,’ which I’ve since decided is Latin for ‘testicles.'
"It was a rocky start, but I remembered a note a former colleague had written to me as I was leaving NBC: Boats are always safe in the harbor, but that's not what boats are built for. I was determined to ride out the storm. I focused on the news, not the noise, and it got better.
"Five years at the CBS Evening News filled me with immense pride and a sense of accomplishment -- from covering the historic 2008 presidential election, to an award-winning series on children and the recession, to standing in Tahrir Square as the people of Egypt said no more to oppression. We were one of the first American teams on the ground in Haiti just hours after that devastating earthquake in January of 2010. I learned more about people, perspective and myself in those five years than I had in the previous 49.
"My story may have played out in the public eye, but it's by no means unique. Every one of you will at some point be confronted by naysayers and learn that life isn't always fair. You'll feel cheated, you'll be mistreated. You'll wonder, when will I be loved?'...
"That's when the third 'R,' resilience, comes in -- the ability to, as they said in the '70s, keep on keeping on, even when you'd rather pull the covers over your head, to muster up your strength and forge ahead -- even if you feel like a failure."
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In other words, let me sum up this speech: “Kids, it’s gonna be rough out there. No one will treat you fairly, America sucks and will spit you out. Sexism will prevent you from doing things. But your best hope is to just be as great as me, and you’ll be able to survive. Even though you’ll still feel like a failure.”
I appreciated what Newsbusters’ Rich Noyes had to say about it:
It was a remarkably self-pitying performance for someone who made $15 million a year reading the introductions to news reports... As for the idea that she was unfairly dismissed as lacking "gravitas," as MRC's Brent Baker noted at the time, her first newscast at CBS showcased her legs and hyped a "CBS News Snap Shot" segment -- a picture of Tom Cruise's baby. Not exactly the stuff of news legends.
Oh, I don’t know, Rich. I think Cronkite had some pretty nice legs too. Anyway, congrats to all the college grads who don’t attend the University of Virginia – you dodged a bullet.