What About Bob? Good Reporter Gets Run Over By Katie’s Bus

In New York City, the front of just about every single city bus is adorned with a giant picture of Katie Couric, promoting her ascent to the throne recently vacated by Dan “they are too real!” Rather. Indeed, taking over for Dan Rather after the fake National Guard document fiasco takes some of the pressure off. It’s kind of like being Captain Hazelwood’s replacement.

Watching the buses go by while standing on the corner of 43rd and 8th and shoving a hot dog into my face, I watched the buses going by knowing that stepping in front of one would mean the last thing you’d see before meeting the maker was Katie’s perky mug. That thought appeared oddly appropriate in a figurative sense as far as the evolution of the mainstream media, particularly in it’s relation to Bob Schieffer, the anchor in between Rather and Couric.

Bob has stepped in front of the Couric-adorned bus. Why wasn’t Bob kept around as anchor? The reasons could be many, but one might be that Schieffer seems a bit uncomfortable with the way things are done in the news biz these days. There is a self-congratulatory nature in the MSM that has just about eclipsed your average Hollywood awards show.

In short, network suits know Bob’s not nearly as likely as Katie to do this on command:

Bob Schieffer, like so many others, is no doubt uncomfortable being the focus of the attention, believing that the attention should be on the story, and reporters should never be the story.

So much of the news nowadays is about the people who are supposed to deliver the news, and the trend is growing. Reporters & photographers get in trouble for faking stories, which turns into a story. Reporters switch networks, film at eleven. Reporters retire, watch the retrospective of his/her career tonight at nine. Heck, reporters are even kidnapped — “tonight’s lead story…”

At some point in the near future, the “Evening News” will consist of the anchor’s home videos along with a quick throw to the Jerusalem bureau so the Israel reporter can be congratulated on the birth of his son and to pitch his new primetime investigative show called “Damn, I’m Handsome — Live!” Then they’ll promote the upcoming podcast of their colonoscopy.

The Katie Couric network switch is setting a new standard in MSM grandstanding. Watch the video on this page of Katie Couric narrating a retrospective of the career of Schieffer.

It was Bob’s last night of anchoring, after a year-and-a-half stint, and he was moving over to make room for Couric. I can’t watch that video without seeing Bob as feeling a bit out of place — like a Little Rock fireplace mantle without a bowling trophy on it. In the video, Schieffer kind of looks like a guy who who’s nervously, and with extreme trepidation, handing his 18-year-old daughter the keys to his Mercedes.

I’ve always liked Bob Schieffer. Though liberal as the day is long, he seems old-school, genuine, honest and not showy. I guess that’s why when I watch that video I get the impression that Bob knows what the direction of media all about now, and it has little to do with “the story” – whether tainted by bias or not – and everything to do with who tells it.

The catch is if a reporter such as Schieffer would ever make known an opinion that news is becoming too much about who delivers it, this would get turned into an “Eye on America” segment devoted completely to — you guessed it — a story about a reporter.


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A Thank-You To Glenn Beck & Company

My wife and I got back late today from a few days in New York (very late, as a matter of fact, as it’s the next day now).

As some of you know, I do a bit of writing (okay, every month) for Glenn Beck’s “Fusion Magazine.” Glenn also of course has a nationally syndicated radio show and a nightly program on CNN Headline News – the latter is an offering that I sincerely believe is going to take over the cable news race in the evenings. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. There are so many reasons I think the program is destined for good things, but it would take to long to outline the reasons, so I’ll save that for a later day. 

While in NY, we visited the Time/Warner building and got a little tour of the television studio for Glenn’s show, and the next day made our way over to Radio City, chatted a bit with Glenn, and ended up on the air with him during the last half-hour. We were on after John Stossel, who is a tough act to follow.

I’ve been around the media biz full time for well over a dozen years now, and I’ve got to say that Glenn and his staff are some of the nicest, funniest, loosest, impromptu – and yet some of the most professional people in the business. Liz, Kevin, Stu, and everybody else were the best as well.

In the studio next door to us, Rush Limbaugh was preparing for his upcoming broadcast, and while we were in the studio talking to Glenn during a commercial break, the doors opened and in walked Ryan Seacrest. I held back any urge there may have been to do an impromptu tryout for American Idol. Ryan was a nice guy as well, though I had him beaten soundly on the “six-day-growth” look. Neither one of us travel with a razor, apparently.

Anyway, the bottom line is, if you aren’t a listener/viewer/reader of Glenn Beck’s many ventures, give it a shot. I can’t tout his shows enough.

No, I didn’t get paid to say any of this, but I have been up for over 24 hours and am punchy. Home finally. Time for bed.