Et tu, Katie Couric?

I, like many people, find it nauseating that the professional political pontificators seem unable to contain their desire to apply horse-race analysis to Elizabeth Edwards announcement that she has life-threatening cancer. From CNN, to Time Magazine to Rush Limbaugh, the national political chattering class has this week truly earned its well-deserved reputation as a group of people dominated by egomaniacal, self-absorbed freaks wholly and completely out of touch with even the most basic sense of decency.

Perhaps the most disturbing display of all, however, was 60 Minutes' Katie Couric [clip right]. She spent most of her interview with the Edwardses behaving like a prosecutor, cross-examining them about why they are going forward with the presidential campaign. And when I say "interrogate" I mean interrogate. This was no ordinary interview - this was a televised guilt trip. She stated as fact to John Edwards that he is supposedly "putting your work first, and your family second." She also pulled the "some say" technique, claiming that an unnamed "some" say that in making this decision, Edwards is displaying "a case of insatiable ambition."

In pursuing this line of repeated questioning, of course, Couric ignored the pretty well-known psychological value of work during health care crises. She also ignored the fact that this is an immensely personal decision that does not require some multimillion-dollar journalist to perform a televised, Gitmo-style interrogation in order for viewers at home to glean the "news value." And most incredibly, she ignored her own behavior when her spouse was diagnosed with cancer.

That's right, Katie Couric's husband was diagnosed with cancer in 1997. I did a quick check of the transcripts for that year - and it's pretty clear that she kept working as the anchor for NBC's Today Show, if not full time, then pretty close to it.

I want to be extremely clear:

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