September 26, 2004
A Very Brief Interview with Bob Schieffer
Posted by Bill
*** Exclusive ***
Bob Schieffer was kind enough to grant me a brief, impromptu interview outside of CBS News Studios in Washington, DC.
INDC: "Mr. Schieffer, do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions about the CBS memo scandal?"
Schieffer: "Uh, sure, go ahead."
INDC: "I was just wondering if you had any comment on what you think may happen with this entire (forgery) situation ..."
Schieffer: "Here is all I can tell you: we made a bad mistake. We've admitted we made the mistake, we've appointed some distinguished outside people to help us figure out how not to make that mistake again, and we're gonna have to live with our mistake. [W]hat we have to do ... we've been hurt by this and ... what we have to do is get back our credibility one story at a time, one day at a time. This is not something that we can fix by just turning the light switch on and off. And, uh, it's been a really tough thing for us... both from the standpoint of credibility and emotional. I mean, those of us who work here really love this place and ... we want to fix it and get on with it."
INDC: "Has there been any extreme reaction inside CBS to the allegation that (Mary) Mapes was in contact or collusion with the DNC, or more accurately, with Joe Lockhart?"
Schieffer: "Well, you know, in any political campaign, you're gonna have people on one side that are gonna slip a reporter something because they think it'll hurt the guy on the other side. But the reporter has the responsibility to determine, number one, whether that is true, and number two, to make a judgment as to whether it's in the public interest and whether or not it should be part of the debate. And if you make that judgment, then, uh, that's a legitimate story to do. But to somehow join up with a campaign, that's totally improper. I don't know what happened here; I wanna wait and see what this commission finds out about this before I make a judgment on what happened here, because really that part of it, all I only know about is what I read in the papers. I'm not gonna make a judgment on that yet, but we have no business joining up with a campaign on either side, and saying, 'let's all work together here.' That's not what we're supposed to do."
INDC: "Has this scandal affected you personally, with your impending moderation of one of the (Presidential) debates?"
Schieffer: "Well, there's been some e-mail that says that I should excuse myself ... but both the White House and the Kerry campaign have said that they think that I can do a fair and honest job. So as long as it's ok with them, I think it's ok."
INDC: "Ok, well I'll let you go. Thank you very much for your time."
Schieffer: "Ok, thank you."
Posted by Bill at September 26, 2004 01:12 PM | TrackBack (14)
I almost feel sorry for the guy.
Posted by: Sissy Willis at September 26, 2004 02:02 PM
He has good hair for his age.
Is that sadness in his eyes, or just resignation?
Posted by: Dave at September 26, 2004 02:14 PM
"I wanna wait and see what this commission finds out about this before I make a judgment on what happened here . . . "
Translation == "Can't comment. Pending litigation."
Posted by: conelrad at September 26, 2004 02:21 PM
Pretty decent of him to take time to stop and talk with you like that- good little interview.
Posted by: James at September 26, 2004 02:40 PM
Yeah, it was good of him, he gave a few good quotes. I wish that I could have hit him with another couple of questions, though.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at September 26, 2004 02:44 PM
That's a great picture. I'd think he'd like a copy.
Posted by: m at September 26, 2004 02:57 PM
Nice little interview.
One thing to remember in all this is Schieffer didn't do it - Mapes, Rather & their team did.
Were I in his shoes, I'd be angry as all get out at them.
Posted by: BD at September 26, 2004 03:24 PM
Good point, BD. Do you find it interesting that Scheiffer is not angry with them?
The same anger that seems to be missing from Rather towards Burkett and others who supposedly "misled" him?
I know I'd be out for blood and my anger would be directed towards those who were trying to ruin my reputation.
I feel like Pat Buchanan. Where's the anger?
Posted by: Kathy at September 26, 2004 03:29 PM
I thought that Mr. Shieffer was relatively candid with his responses.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at September 26, 2004 03:32 PM
Kudos for your effort and to him for not ducking you. It's easy to tar the whole network, indeed the whole media with the same brush.
Maybe not a bad idea to remember who the real guilty parties are.
Posted by: Paul at September 26, 2004 03:41 PM
Good job, Bill from INDC, and thanks for sharing with us.
Kudos to Mr. Schieffer, he is a stand-up guy and a reminder why the adage "Don't tar everyone with the same broad brush" is true.
That said, Rathergate will be fizzled out totally soon. No congressional inquiry, no one will be prosecuted, no one will go to jail over the fabricated memos.
Those who are dissatisfied should remember the immense damage done to CBS' reputation, as Mr. Schieffer acknowledges, and by extension, the whole of the mainstream media.
They damaged themselves in the fairest court of all, the court of public opinion, and that's as it should be.
Posted by: nogudnik at September 26, 2004 03:41 PM
Good interview,Bill. On the spot like that you handled it in an exemplary fashion.
Regarding CBS, though, consider how NBC/Dateine handled it's fake but accurate exploding pickup trucks: (Byron York reporting) http://www.hillnews.com/york/092304.aspx
The MSM is nothing without credibility (except to the niave and gullible), and that can only infer that the MSM is nothing anymore.
Posted by: Infidel at September 26, 2004 03:49 PM
Schieffer knows well enough not to become the story. If he's angry, he's not going to show it.
Great little interview. Were you walking around with a tape recorder, and does he know you?
Posted by: Sydney T at September 26, 2004 04:14 PM
He does not know me; I was out and about with my equipment (several more interview subjects will be featured later this week).
Posted by: Bill from INDC at September 26, 2004 04:16 PM
Good interview, but there's really no reason to add all the "uh's" throughout the transcription, as they add nothing. Most people have such verbal tics, and they are only distracting when they appear in print. Good thing you weren't interviewing Ed Koch, or half the text would consist of "er, ah... er, ahhhh"...
Posted by: Mike Sierra at September 26, 2004 04:30 PM
"Add the uh's?"
Don't you mean "not take them away?"
Posted by: Bill from INDC at September 26, 2004 04:31 PM
Great opportunity, Bill.
Posted by: La Shawn at September 26, 2004 04:32 PM
If Shieffer were 30 years younger and ruthlessly ambitious, he'd be stringing up the rope to hang Dan Rather once and for all.
Posted by: 29 at September 26, 2004 04:33 PM
Sorry, should have used the word "include." Nuke 'em, i say!
Posted by: Mike Sierra at September 26, 2004 04:33 PM
Okay, okay... yes, it was very kind of him to agree to an interview. And, no, he did not create this mess. However, he hardly rises to the level of "stand-up guy".
I occasionally turn to his Sunday morning show, and I believe, that he's no less likely to have attempted to influence an audience, than Rather.
Now, as for Bill...there are those who talk, and those who actually do...you're obviously the latter. Great work, as usual!
Posted by: jmflynny at September 26, 2004 04:37 PM
Nice job. Compelling journalistic coup. I was impressed with his straight forward responses. I can almost hear him say; Damn you, Danny! Why? Why? I can't wait to hear how Danny might react if you tried the same approach. Probably end the same way the last time a reporter approached him like that whereby Danny uttered F**K YOU into the microphone! I've got one word for CBS News:COURAGE!
Posted by: Michael Savoy at September 26, 2004 04:44 PM
Khorosho, Comrade Bill.
Posted by: The Commissar at September 26, 2004 04:48 PM
What jumped out at me from that short bit was that Schiefer seems to take it for granted that the direct connection to the Democratic Party existed and was wrong. Or, at least, it's fascinating that he spent so much of a quite short interview talking around that issue.
Major attaboy, Bill. Maybe even a Lt. Colonel :-)
Posted by: Ric Locke at September 26, 2004 04:48 PM
The thing that strikes me is this. Schieffer says that "... the reporter has the responsibility to determine, number one, whether that is true, and number two, to make a judgment as to whether it's in the public interest and whether or not it should be part of the debate."
Left unsaid is the part that the reporter's predisposition - or BIAS - plays in his/her determination/judgment.
"Joining up with a campaign" thus becomes a relative thing. And that is exactly what is wrong in the big media today.
Posted by: Tom Berry at September 26, 2004 05:02 PM
Anyone who thinks Bob Scheiffer is impartial should read his book: The Acting President: Ronald Reagan and the Supporting Players Who Helped Him Create the Illusion That Held America Spellbound. It is the most biased piece of reporting, an entire book designed to make Reagan look like a hapless dunce instead of a strong leader. It was published years ago. I have a copy, maybe you can find it on amazon and see that Bob Scheiffer is every bit the Republican hater that those other CBS twits are. No WAY should he be moderating that debate.
Posted by: CB at September 26, 2004 05:21 PM
I agree that the lack of outrage at CBS is pretty telling. Schieffer may actually be angry we wouldn't really know. He's not really in such a great position to be expressing any anger he would have. Rather and Heyward should be breathing fire though. So I don't think its useful to draw any conclusions based on whether or not he's showing anger.
I agree with Tom Berry that his point about story selection is interesting. Again though I think this says little about Sheiffer in particular. Story selection is a part of all journalism. It is certainly a large manifestation of the media's bias. But he can't really come out and say such a thing. And I think alot of today's journalists think they make objective decisions about such things. They are clearly wrong imho, but I think the beleive it.
Posted by: ctob at September 26, 2004 05:32 PM
How come Schieffer stopped to answer questions from a guy wearing jammies? Get back to your living room and leave the fact finding to the pros. The nerve of some people.
Posted by: Fred Z at September 26, 2004 06:43 PM
I think it's great that you caught that interview. That and some other things triggered a post of my own. If I'm not mistaken, Schieffer is a bit resigned at this point in his career. He came up the old way, more journalist than star. I'm sure he knows what the score is but he's above all else a professional and he handled himself accordingly. As did you, I might add. Good job, Bill.
Posted by: Dan at September 26, 2004 07:26 PM
- Great work Bill...May just show how frustrated the CBS team not associated with RatherFake really are....
- I see that MSMBC once again acted as waterboy for CBS by posting an outline of the African/yellowcake mess...
- As we have come to expect at the very end of the piece their chief investigator Burba stated....
"I’m disappointed,” she told NEWSWEEK. “In this story, you don’t know who’s lying and who’s telling the truth. The sources have been both discredited and discredited themselves.”
- CBS President Mooves may want to take the position that "The best journalism comes from taking chances" but someone should point out to him that taking chances doesn't require you to give up all semblance of journalistic integrity....
- Apparently CBS has decided that the proof is in the ratings share and News casts, like reality programs, should be based on subtefuge and duplicity...
- In a related development CBS cancelled a Dan Rather interview with Larry king this past Monday evening, originally ballyhooed as a chance for Rather to get his position and reasoning out to the viewing public. This coming on the heels of Rather's insincere limp wristed mea copa on his sunday evening newscast, where once again he failed to state plainly that the documents the entire story was based on are fakes, or admit the rediculousness of his position.
- In fact, he again stated this past week he's confident that the story is true in spite of the fraudulent documents. Most people feel that, far worse than the fact that the CBS news team failed to properly authenticate the memo's, was the scandalous partisan behavior that Rather displayed for 11 days after everyone else in the Northern hemisphere knew the truth. Insiders say that Rather has been quarenteened quietly to prevent any further damage....
Posted by: Hunter at September 26, 2004 08:01 PM
I am looking for background information on Mary Mapes and her husband Mark Wrolstad. Anything you can find would be helpful but particular items of interest include. Thanks in advance.
Posted by: JCKnox at September 26, 2004 08:04 PM
Good job, Bill. Although, you know, Goldstein's interviews are much funnier.
Posted by: andy at September 26, 2004 08:18 PM
I hope Bush nixes a debate moderated by anyone from CBS. He needs to debate like a hole in the head.
Posted by: erp at September 26, 2004 08:34 PM
Maybe it is because of my military background, but I get a different slant on Schieffer's comments. In the Army, once the Commander makes his decision, we NCOs back it 100% whether we like it or not. We realize there is ONE person who truly speaks for the unit- the Commander, and we follow his guidelines and directives when talking to the media. To me, his responses were along these lines, along with the position of "can't comment, pending litigation" raised by conelrad.
Posted by: Pete at September 26, 2004 09:19 PM
Great work. But, now how do we get to the bottom of where the documents came from? This is the next story, and the MSM seem to have quit.
Posted by: Daisy at September 26, 2004 09:37 PM
Nothing to add but to say it was decent of him to be willing to discuss it (remember how far he goes back with these people -- friends, not just colleagues) and to second m's point: That's a really nice picture of him.
Posted by: DrSteve at September 26, 2004 10:50 PM
This is excellent: respectful but good questions. My main reaction is: Looks like Mary Mapes is getting set up to take the fall.
Second reaction: He is opening up the possibility of the political dimensions coming under investigation -
"But to somehow join up with a campaign, that's totally improper."
This also shores up his credibility as impartial as a moderator of the Bush-Kerry debates.
Posted by: Michael Barger at September 26, 2004 11:00 PM
It would have been inappropriate, I know, to ask him to comment on Ann Coulter's latest column, but it would have been worth the price of admission to watch the tap dance.
(especially this excerpt)
"It's often said that we never lost a battle in Vietnam, but that the war was lost at home by a seditious media demoralizing the American people. Ironically, the leader of that effort was Rather's predecessor at CBS News, Walter Cronkite, president of the Ho Chi Minh Admiration Society.
"It was Cronkite who went on air and lied about the Tet offensive, claiming it was a defeat for the Americans. He told the American people the war was over and we had lost. Ronald Reagan said CBS News officials should have been tried for treason for those broadcasts.
"CBS has already lost one war for America. The Swift Boat Vets (she should have added), and the bloggers weren't going to let CBS lose another one."
Posted by: TEWSPilot at September 26, 2004 11:01 PM
No offense, but asking him about Ann Coulter wouldn't make any sense. I've only read Coulter maybe once in the past two years; she's not relevant to this discussion.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at September 26, 2004 11:10 PM
There is a relationship between Bob Scheiffer and Goerge Bush. When Bush was the owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team in Arlington, Texas, Bob's brother, Tom Schieffer was the President of the team. Tom Schieffer is now Bush's Ambassador to Australia.
I think if Bush asked that Bob not moderate a debate, then his brother Tom might be upset with Bush. Conversely, if Bob were to be unfair to Bush in the debate, Tom might also be upset with his brother.
Tom helped Bush turn a $600,000.00 investment into a $15,000,000.00 windfall profit when the team was sold to Tom Hicks (my wife's boss.) So I think he probably has kind thoughts towards the Schieffer family.
Posted by: Scott Harris at September 26, 2004 11:33 PM
Posted by: MahaRichie at September 27, 2004 12:33 AM
Bill, because of her inflamatory reputation, I quoted only the relevant portion of Coulter's article, and I prefaced my remarks to make it clear that I realize asking him about her would have been inappropriate in the context of the intent of your interview. My point is, Rather is just one in a long line of anti-American "journalists" who fit right in with the goals of CBS. Schieffer has to know these forgeries are just business as usual at CBS, so poking him in the eye with Coulter would have been pointless.
I just wish there were an effective means of making the "Good" inside CBS feel uncomfortable about the damage done to their collective reputations throughout their history by the "Bad" and the "Ugly". It might hasten changes in attitude and management more than external pressure will. Schieffer is allowed to remain above the fray as a "Good Guy", but he still represents a totally discredited organization. He needs to be made to feel that sting, but your interview was not the venue.
Posted by: TEWSPilot at September 27, 2004 12:38 AM
It's time to take a look at what Bob Schieffer said in the days after the 60 Minutes story had been discredited, but before CBS News threw in the towel. On September 14, nearly a week after the initial broadcast of the phony documents, Schieffer said that the network’s need to protect confidential sources was making it difficult to prove the documents’ authenticity.
“I think we have to find some way to show our viewers they are not forgeries. I don't know how we are going to do that without violating the confidentiality of sources,” he said. (Of course, when their source was exposed, it undermined, rather than bolstered, any claim that the documents were real.)
The next day, Schieffer held his ground, telling the Washington Post: “When Dan tells me these documents are not forgeries, I believe him.”
He should not be moderating the debate at this time.
Posted by: Michael Paranzino at September 27, 2004 02:01 AM
- Actually Michael I look at this whole mess as having an ironic effect on the debates, or more properly "non-debates, since the Bush team won such a restrictive set of Bush favoring conditions they have essentially eliminated any chance of Kerry gaining a decisive "win". More to the point, with Rathergate fresh in everyone's minds CBS is all too aware they will be under the microscope, and well may lean over backwards to avoid anything resembling partisanship, much less favoritism...Besides, we have three whole days to go before the debates, with the circus routine at the DNC/CBS who knows what other interesting things may happen...
Posted by: Hunter at September 27, 2004 07:55 AM
Good job, Bill. Keep up the good work.
Posted by: Ironbear at September 27, 2004 09:22 AM
Mr. Magoo's illigitimate son?
Posted by: Yahuti at September 28, 2004 12:11 PM
Oh dear. Successful people know each other throught various degrees of relationships. You bet your ass they do!
It's called "society as we know it." You don't like it, huh? Okay you reorder it better.
Posted by: Terry Mann at September 28, 2004 07:31 PM
We now have a corporate media churning out Manufactured Truth. We see and hear a debate where there is a clear concensus in both the public and the media regarding who won. A CBS reporter; however, declaired that it was a tie. Who announces this? The pre-selected moderator of the next debate: Bob Schieffer.
How will Bob frame the questions in the next debate now that we have proof that he won't tell the truth (specifically, when he refuses to acknowledge that a Democratic candidate performed better in a debate)?
How ironic that CBS is labeled "liberal" when it has a bias that overwhelmingly supports Republicans! I guess spin is as effective today as when Gore routed Bush in 2000 (when the media handily spun Bush a beautiful set of new clothes). Only today they frame, not only, candidates, but also, the news industry. FOX, MSNBC, CNN, NBC, CBS...the giants fall one, by one.
Posted by: Ron at October 5, 2004 11:10 AM
**Shieffer Speaks at Olsson's**
ARLINGTON, VA -- CBS's Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer appeared at Olsson's bookstore in Arlington, Va, where he signed his latest book [highly recommended--see Amazon.com], discussed current events, and answered a few questions.
He mentioned this "10-minute" interview and the picture above (he likes the photo and appreciates that he looks statesmanlike).
He's a personable fellow, comes across as upfront & sincere, and will probably do quite well as moderator at the prez debates next week. Smiling, Schieffer said that he's very excited about the opportunity to moderate the prez debate in Arizona next week.
Schieffer told the group, which included many who had to stand [seating ran out], that his debate questioning of both candidates will focus on domestic issues, but he considers Iraq the top priority in this election. Apparently, he was originally scheduled to moderate the foreign affairs debate, but was bumped to the third debate. He said he had no problem with that, and researched US domestic issues so he would enough questions. [He said he learned a great deal about foreign affairs after interviewing former envoy Dennis Rose for several hours. That was before he learned of the change in moderators. Since Shieffer had to research domestic issues instead, he simply started over the following week, he told the crowd.]
Schieffer said that the nation and its leadership ought to focus on how to get out of Iraq rather than past mistakes.
His opening remarks included sorta-endorsement of the national draft. While he commented that a possible draft is, in his opinion, on the minds of many young people, he believes that a 2-year minimum national service for all 18 y/o would help restore national unity. [He recalled the rally-around-the-flag national unity immediately post-9/11.]
He added that he believes that today's US is bitterly divided along ideological lines. He attributed the extreme partisanship to the nasty electioneering on both sides, citing, in particular, the latest prez elections TV ads. Lately, he said, Republicans and Democrats can't even seem to attend the same church services or live in the same neighborhood.
When asked about last week's prez debate, he felt that Bush was off his game and that it was not the Bush he knew. [Apparently, from his remarks, Schieffer has known Bush for many years.] Schieffer predicted that Bush will smile much more in tomorrow's [Friday] debate.
Posted by: andy at October 8, 2004 12:22 AM