In short, Schieffer calls both Stewart and Colbert "editorial page cartoonists," in an interview at Broadcasting & Cable. He doesn't mean it in a derogatory way, he just means that they serve a certain function when it comes to the news. They're not journalists, they're making commentary on the journalist (and politics and current events and pop culture). He thinks "if all you watched is Stewart and Colbert, I'm not sure you could call yourself well-informed."
I would agree with that, and I bet Stewart and Colbert would too.
What do they all have in common?
We covered the coverage of the election last night on various stations, including ABC, CNN, FOX News, NBC, MSNBC, and Comedy Central. I covered CBS to see how Katie Couric did on her first night as election anchor. I'm a fan of Katie's, and for the most part I haven't agreed with the criticisms against her (beyond the growing pains she and the show had when she started), and I think she did a fine job.
So let's go over the good and the bad.
11:59: Obama starts his speech. Time to pay attention.
11:59: Waiting for Katie or somebody to mention Michelle Obama's flaming red and black dress.
11:58: OK, Obama taking the stage. They stop the music like at the start of movies when they stop the music and the coming attractions come on.
11:55: Katie asks Noonan to stick around until after the commercial, but they don't go to a commercial. Nice swell of music, though.
11:54: Peggy Noonan is back. Hey, isn't she usually on MSNBC or NBC?
11:45: Katie makes reference to The Patty Duke Show! Something to do with the Udalls and twins, I think.
11:39: Katie corrects Greenfield yet again: it's Nevadda, not Nevahda. Greenfield says the election is over, he doesn't care anymore.
10:07: Switching over to see what PBS and FOX News are up to. Know why? I'm a maverick.
9:49: Will I have another drink tonight? TOO CLOSE TO CALL.
9:42: I have a real crush on Peggy Noonan. Not sure why.
9:31: Is anyone even paying attention to the sides of the CBS HD screen? I'd rather see cartoons or Three Stooges shorts played, picture-in-picture style.
9:24: Schieffer and Greenfield both call the election after Ohio goes to Obama. That's it for the election! Good night everybody! You would think they'd let it go a little bit longer considering the 2000 fiasco.
9:04: McCain HQ is playing Eddie Money? No wonder he's behind.
8:50: Jeff Greenfield says "Sarah Palin was Norma Rae for two weeks, then she was somebody else." Maybe when they come back from commercial he'll say who. Any guesses?
8:49: Bob Schieffer says Katie partly responsible for Sarah Palin's fall. Katie says "keep it up Bob and you're next."
7:26: They've gone to local coverage for a bit. Good time for my first gin and tonic of the evening. I'll be back later with more, and stay tuned for posts from CNN, MSNBC, and more.
7:18: Now Katie says "Can you hear me now? I sound like a Sprint commercial" to Obama spokesman. Can't she get any of her commercial icon references right tonight?!?
7:14: First glitch of the night: can't hear what Obama spokesman is saying. Katie goes to McCain spokesman instead. CBS IN THE TANK FOR MCCAIN!
7:07: CBS's "Magic Board" (or whatever they're calling it) isn't as good as CNN's. It's the Sony Walkman to CNN's iPod.
7:05: Jeff Greenfield is firing off sports/weather cliches to describe the election. I already miss Dan Rather and his Ratherisms: "This race is tighter than a cranberry muffin at an auto show."
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced that NBC's Tom Brokaw, PBS's Jim Lehrer, and CBS's Bob Schieffer will be the moderators, with Gwen Ifill, the host of PBS's Washington Week handling the chores for the one vice presidential debate.
What's interesting here is that of the big three, ABC is not represented. Among the cable news crowd, Fox News and MSNBC were equally snubbed as was CNN.
I can't say why ABC was left out of the loop. However, George
Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson were both roundly criticized for their work on the Democratic debate they helmed.
After the executive session, it was CBS News' turn to face the critics and talk about their election coverage. Via satellite from their New York studios was CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, Face the Nation moderator Bob Schieffer, senior political correspondent Jeff Greenfield, and CBS News and Sports president Sean McManus.
Right away, a reporter brought up Katie Couric's job status. "I'm glad you got right to it," Couric joked. "I thought [the speculation] had died down considerably." She said she "can't control what media writers write. We live in an echo chamber," with media reporters more fascinated by her status than the general public is. "The attention befuddles me," she continued. She's concentrating on doing "the best job I can."
Think about it: he wasn't only the longtime moderator of Meet The Press, where he took the venerable show and rejiggered its format, making him the face of the show. He was also NBC News' Washington bureau chief and the main political voice for the network. "It's going to take four or five people to replace Tim," CBS' Bob Schieffer told The New York Times.
For now, though, the immediate question is who will replace him on Meet The Press. Speculation is already underway.
The veteran newsman, who'll be 72 this year, had announced his retirement. He was going to leave the Black Rock as of the January presidential inauguration. Now he's decided to postpone the rocking chair. According to TV Week, the network didn't have to twist his arm; the deal was easily and simply done. All Schieffer had to do was get his wife Pat's approval and he was able to tell CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus asked him not to step down as planned with the inauguration of a new president that he would remain.
If you're sick of hearing about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, then this should come as welcome news. According to TV Newser, the North Carolina Democratic Party has canceled a scheduled debate between the two remaining candidates. It was set to air on CBS. Katie Couric and Bob Schieffer were scheduled to moderate. It would have probably earned decent ratings, too, since CBS planned to air the hour long debate following an episode of 60 Minutes.
According to the NCDP website, the debate was canceled due to "time constraints and logistical issues." I suppose that makes sense. Both Clinton and Obama are running around like crazy in an effort to secure last minute votes during the final Democratic primaries. Pennsylvania's is today.
I'd just like to say that there are a lot of TV sites on the web, but TV Squad is "The Best TV Site That Has Ever Existed Or Will Ever Exist On This Planet Or Any Other." And that's official, by the way.
Now that I've announced that, there seems to be a little battle going on with the cable news channels and even the regular networks when it comes to coverage of this year's Presidential election. CNN reminds us every three and a half minutes that they are "The Best Political Team On Television," almost as much as they remind us that "we're in The Situation Room"), and now CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric has jokingly named her team of Jeff Greenfield and Bob Schieffer "The Best Political Team In The Galaxy." They liked that, especially Greenfield, who used to be the political expert over on CNN.
Much has been said about Katie Couric and her year behind the anchor's desk on The CBS Evening News (some of it by Couric herself in a controversial New York interview). But now a journalist is going to interview Couric and she's going to talk about everything that's going on with her and with the news biz in general.
Veteran newsman Marvin Kalb is going to interview Couric as part of the Kalb Report Series, which is produced by George Washington University, Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center, and The National Press Club. The interview will take place live on stage next Tuesday at The National Press Club, in front of students and members of the NPC.
I'll admit I had my doubts and might have even expressed them here, but in reality, I think she's doing fine. She can't do anything about the ratings, and the show was in third place long before Couric took over. As Bill Maher said when he was asked at the time how Couric was going to do, "I think she'll read the teleprompter fine." And she's done a fine job. Sure, there were some odd growing pains, like addressing the audience by saying "Hi everyone," the "Picture of the Week" and "First Person" segments that were dropped, and it looked a while there like they were going to end each episode by showing her legs, but the show has gotten a lot better.
All this talk about how Katie Couric is single-handedly destroying network news (supposedly) overlooks one fact: she's actually losing less viewers than Brian Williams over on NBC.
Couric lost 287,000 viewers over the first 39 weeks of her show compared to what the show did last year, and during that same time, Williams lost 533,000. He's now in second place behind ABC and Charles Gibson.
Of course, it doesn't mean that everyone who is leaving NBC or CBS is going over to ABC and Gibson. I think it's an indication of what's going on with network news in general (and NBC in particular).
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