September 27, 2004

INDC Journal: CBS' Bob Schiffer on Rathergate

Bill over at INDC Journal was able to buttonhole Bob Schiffer yesterday morning in front of CBS' DC bureau (where Free Republic's pajama-clad DC Chapter had set up a "pajamahadeen" protest) after the taping of Face The Nation.

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."

Schiffer is set to moderate the third Presidential debate, currently set for Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ on October 13.

Posted by mhking at September 27, 2004 09:05 AM

Schieffer says "...we've appointed some distinguished outside people to help us figure out how not to make that mistake again..." but that presumes two things: that it was an honest mistake and that Dan Rather's ideology is amenable to "correction" by Dick Thornburgh.

CBS (and Cronkite, in particular) have done a lot over the years to buttress such crap as the Warren Commission Report; this is (on an admittedly lower level) just another instance of using the cover of authority and ostensible objectivity to save the appearance of concern.

Posted by: Toby Petzold at September 27, 2004 11:36 PM

I am 61 years old and have always respected your news work. The questions you asked in the pres. debate were pathetic and appeared scripted by the Republican Party. Why no question about Bush's horrible environmental record? It's time for you to consider're not tough and suspicious enough for the work.
Alan Goldsmith

Posted by: alan at December 26, 2004 05:32 PM
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