Schieffer: Most Info People Have is ‘Wrong’; Slams Money in Politics

As CBS This Morning gave retiring Bob Schieffer a glowing send-off on Friday, the longtime Face the Nation moderator ripped the current media landscape: “Well, it's been turned upside down....we now don't know where people get their news, but what we do know is they're bombarded with information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most of the information is wrong and some of it wrong on purpose.”

He then proclaimed: “It is our job, I think, in mainstream journalism to try to cut through this maw of information and tell people what we think is relevant and what they need to know about. That is the job of the journalist.”

Schieffer’s rant was prompted by fill-in co-host Vinita Nair wondering: “How do you feel like Washington has changed from when you started to now?” In addition to slamming supposed misinformation spread by the non-mainstream press, Schieffer went after money in politics: “The other thing that has changed, of course, is this influx of money. I mean our campaigns have become, ‘I have more billionaires than you do, so I'm a viable candidate.’ I don't think that's what the founders had in mind when they started this country.”

The veteran political reporter argued:

I think something is gonna have to change on that front. Because what we have now, people have to sign off with so many special interests before they get to Washington that once they're here, they can't compromise. And when you have a government and a legislative body that can't compromise, you have what we have, a legislative body that’s in constant and total gridlock.

After a Supreme Court ruling struck down the cap on overall political donations in 2014, Schieffer complained: “For all practical purposes, this ruling is just one more sign that we no longer have any campaign laws that really matter. More and more, the very rich are taking control of our politics.”

Here is a transcript of the May 29 exchange:

8:07 AM ET

(...)

VINITA NAIR: There have been so many wonderful things being written and said about you at this point. One of my favorites was simply, “He's someone that never became Washington.” But I'm curious, in that chair, how do you feel like Washington has changed from when you started to now?

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, it's been turned upside down, I mean, as has everything, because of this revolution in communications. You know, we now don't know where people get their news, but what we do know is they're bombarded with information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most of the information is wrong and some of it wrong on purpose. It is our job, I think, in mainstream journalism to try to cut through this maw of information and tell people what we think is relevant and what they need to know about. That is the job of the journalist. And I have the say, it's harder and harder.

The other thing that has changed, of course, is this influx of money. I mean our campaigns have become, “I have more billionaires than you do, so I'm a viable candidate.” I don't think that's what the founders had in mind when they started this country. And I don't know where this goes but I think something is gonna have to change on that front. Because what we have now, people have to sign off with so many special interests before they get to Washington that once they're here, they can't compromise. And when you have a government and a legislative body that can't compromise, you have what we have, a legislative body that’s in constant and total gridlock.

(...)

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