Monday, January 10, 2005

The pressure of being us

Dallas' best newscaster Tracy Rowlett interviews CBS' Bob Schieffer. Now that CBS has released its Memogate investigation, it's interesting to read Schieffer's comments on the matter. Even though his answers are often so charmingly worded as to contain not one single substantive statement, Schieffer does emphasize the competitive pressure to get a story first:

"(Dan Rather) is just driven to get the story before the guys at the other organizations get it"

"I think what drive most reporters is to get the story first and get it right before their competitors get it."

This meshes nicely with this: "The network's drive to be the first to break a story about Bush's National Guard service was a key reason it produced a story that was neither fair nor accurate and did not meet CBS News' internal standards, the investigators said."

The interview was likely conducted a month ago so was Schieffer laying some spin groundwork? Who knows? But the claim from him and from Les Moonves's memo is identical: there's no laziness or political bias at CBS. Just a lot of poor people coping with so much pressure. Cut 'em some slack. And move along.

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