Veteran journalist critiques D.C. politics, discusses career
Bob Schieffer, 'Face the Nation' host, lambasts increased politicking, diversified media environment
Bob Schieffer, longtime journalist and host of CBS’s weekly news broadcast “Face the Nation,” spoke to Politics Prof. Larry Sabato’s Introduction to American Politics class Monday afternoon.
Schieffer offered anecdotes from his 50-year career in journalism, and addressed the current situation in American politics, or what he called “the mess that we find ourselves in.”
The seasoned reporter said he went into journalism “for the reason your professor will tell you not to get a job — it was just so much fun.” He also recounted memorable moments from his time in the news business, including hearing former president Richard Nixon make a joke about outhouses.
He then moved on to discuss the current state of the American political system.
“I have been in Washington for 45 years and working for CBS News — I have not seen a situation where the government has become as totally dysfunctional,” Schieffer said. “[Washington is now about] arguing and putting out press releases, and playing the blame game … The rest of the country has been left to itself.”
Schieffer said pollsters and consultants make politicians lose contact with the people they are supposed to represent. The public also have a responsibility, he added, to be smart in their use of the media to ensure they are receiving accurately reported information.
“With the proliferation of media, you get your news like you go to a restaurant and order eggs — sunny side up, scrambled — you can order your news to your taste,” Schieffer said. “If we are going to be informed we must read a variety of sources, and get our news from a variety of places.”
During his 30-year coverage of Washington politics for CBS, Schieffer has won six Emmy awards, was named broadcaster of the year by the National Press Foundation in 2002 and has moderated multiple presidential debates, including the third debate in 2012. Now, Schieffer said he plans to take things one day at a time, he told students.
“I wake up in the morning and check the obits, and if I’m not mentioned then it’s going to be a good day,” he said.