Bob Schieffer, a reporter at CBS since 1969, is retiring. As a prelude to his valedictory laps, he was interviewed on CBS Morning Show a few days ago. He addressed the “revolution in the media,” stating the obvious:
“We now don’t know where people get their news, but what we do know is they’re bombarded with information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Then, instead of making some sort of nuanced, probing observation about the impact of the Internet on news reporting, Schieffer said,
Most of the information is wrong and some of it is wrong on purpose.”
Really? Schieffer doesn’t know where people are getting their information from, but he knows most of it is wrong and some of it, wrong on purpose.
I wonder what scholarly study of information Schieffer has in mind? Doesn’t a reporter, first of all, deal with facts, not conjecture?
After all, as Schieffer adds, the solution belongs to “mainstream journalism.” And what does he recommend? Schieffer and his buddies at CBS, NBC, ABC, and CNN must “try to cut through this mall of information and tell people what we think is relevant and what they need to know.”
Really? Schieffer believes the mainstream media should be deciding what is relevant? That explains why his network, along with the rest, have become also-rans, why they are going out of existence. Because their understanding of “relevance” is whatever benefits their liberal friends, especially those in the Democratic Party and its ancillary institutions.
The latest and most egregious example of Schieffer’s arrogance was the mainstream media’s coverage of the 2012 Benghazi tragedy. Not only did those networks take their talking points from the State Department and the White House, without asking any questions, they then blacked out the hearings of the House Select Committee on Benghazi two years later.
But these kind of decisions about “relevance” have been going on for so many years watching the “Evening News” is no longer a daily habit for millions of Americans whose parents watched Cronkite on CBS, Brinkley on NBC, and Harry Reasoner or Howard K. Smith on ABC.
The Schieffer generation of “mainstream journalism” blew it — they sold their soul to become disguised advocates for a partisan point of view. As Bob Novak often told me over breakfast at the Army-Navy Club in Washington DC, the kind of news reporting he learned as an Associated Press reporter in the late 50s no longer existed. Novak said he had watched as both youthful and veteran reporters gave up any pretense to objectivity and fairness during the Clinton years and the years that followed.
Schieffer, of course, does not name names of the misinformation sources, but he must have in mind the Drudge Report, the Brietbart News Network, World News Daily, NewsMax, among many others. And, no doubt, the ratings dominance of Fox News over all the traditional networks has helped to prompt his ungracious exit.
Schieffer comments that the media revolution has turned D.C. “upside down.” He’s right about that because with the loss of trust in “mainstream journalism” the networks have lost control of what Americans think and know about our nation’s politics. What Schieffer sees as topsy-turvy is really right-side-up, finally.