Schieffer: Robertson Not Representative Enough To Consider Newsworthy

January 6th, 2006 3:18 PM

Brian Montopoli on the CBS Public Eye site asked some CBS insiders about whether Pat Robertson is as newsworthy as he used to be. They said no:

I asked "Evening News" host Bob Schieffer for his thoughts on Robertson and whether he thought there were others who better represent evangelicals. Schieffer, who considers himself a religious person, has covered Robertson and interviewed him several times in the past, and says "at the beginning he represented a particular point of view, and articulated it quite well." But he's reluctant to cover him now.

"I think we have to be very careful about quoting Robertson, because I'm not sure who he represents anymore," he said. "His comments have gone beyond interesting and into bizarre." The "Evening News," he points out, has not covered Robertson's recent comments.

Of course, then Schieffer leaps over to the other end of the ideological spectrum: "So who does he think is a better representative of evangelicals? Jim Wallis, who Schieffer calls 'very compelling.'" Montopoli added context: "It's worth noting that many consider Wallis to be left-leaning, unlike most evangelical leaders." That's understating it: Wallis "leans" left at least as far as Pat Robertson leans right.

Montopoli added another voice of agreement:

"Michael Bass, the executive producer of the "Early Show," also gave me his take on the issue. "We would only try to book Pat Robertson when he's a newsmaker and we want to interview him to ask him about it," he says. "Otherwise he would not be a choice for us because there are other people who speak for many more people."

Bass says two of his favorite voices when it comes to religion are Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life," and Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church. He also mentions Billy Graham, who these days is rarely available for interviews, and his son Franklin. "They're worthy of the following they've inspired," he says.