On the night of Monday, Nov. 20, Embry-Riddle hosted CBS newsman and former moderator of “Face the Nation,” Bob Schieffer. During the hour and a half discussion, moderator Marc Bernier and Schieffer would talk about the changing way in which Americans now get their news.
With a large host of media outlets and online information sources, Schieffer believes that our brains can sometimes be overloaded- unable to process the sheer amount of knowledge. Sifting through the wealth of information has become increasingly difficult, what with the numerous claims of ‘fake news’ by government officials.
However, Schieffer reminded the audience that the first rule of journalism is to find out if something is true. “If it’s not true,” Bob says, “Then we don’t report it.” True journalists focus on two things: one, getting the truth, and two, getting it before their competitors.
When asked about his views on the most recent presidential election, Schieffer revealed that he was ashamed of how the prior election had progressed. Schieffer had been one of the moderators at the Las Vegas Debate in October and called the event a battle of attitudes, not issues. He speculated that one of the contributing factors to Trump’s success was that his opponents were running an old-fashioned campaign, while Trump himself used what is called the ‘dead cat’ theory.
The theory goes like this: if you are sitting at a table having a discussion, and someone throws a dead cat on the table, everyone is now going to talk about the dead cat. By spouting outlandish claims, Trump was able to monopolize the airtime on media outlets and derail serious interview questions by going off on a tangent. “It worked,” Schieffer said, “but that’s not the proper strategy to run the presidency.”
Schieffer admits that, while every president has disliked the press, those who actively destroy the credibility of journalists are damaging our democracy. “We cannot have a democracy without an independent press,” Schieffer states, continuing to reiterate that a journalist’s job is to report the facts, not to provide their own opinions. Bernier brought up the fact that our current president has often resorted to name calling, to which Schieffer merely laughed and said, “You’ve got to do better than that!”
In closing, Bob Schieffer reminisced about how, back in the day, every mother wanted their child to grow up to be the president. Whereas nowadays, the thinking has become “I don’t want my child to be a politician.” “We need to get our best and brightest back in Washington.”
Before opening the floor to questions, Bernier left the audience with a quote from Schieffer, in which the former host iterated, “Most of the information [we get from news outlets] is wrong, and some of it [is] wrong on purpose. It is our job, I think, in mainstream journalism to try and cut through this mall of information and tell people what we think is relevant and what they need to know about.”