Saturday, October 21, 2006

Couric Leads with Six Minutes on Foley, Starting With Memories of Naked Back Rubs

Back on October 6, Katie Couric promised that the Mark Foley scandal “is not going away.” And just under two weeks later, on Thursday night, she did her part to keep it alive by leading the CBS Evening News with six minutes on it, starting with salacious descriptions of the teenage Mark Foley's alleged sexual activity with a Catholic priest. Couric offered a warning to viewers as she hyped the supposed importance of the priest's recollections: “A stunning development tonight in the congressional page scandal, and you may not want your young children to hear the story we're about to tell. The priest Mark Foley accused of molesting him as a child has come forward. Now retired, the priest admits that he and Foley, then barely a teenager, were naked together in a sauna, but he says, quote, 'Everybody does that.'”

Via phone, Couric talked earlier in the day to the priest in Malta. Citing a Sarasota Herald-Tribune article, Couric inquired: "According to this newspaper account, it also says that you massaged him when he was naked, and you were naked in the same room on overnight trips." Father Anthony Mercieca replied: "He'll stay with his towel on and go on the bench and I will massage his neck and his back." Couric remarked that “this was probably the weirdest interview I've ever done” -- raising the unanswered question of why she considered the 72-year-old's memories of back massages the lead story of the day -- before moving on to Gloria Borger for a full story on testimony before the ethics committee.

Hat Tip to NewsBusters

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