That sound you heard on Sunday morning was the world of journalism collectively exhaling as the last of its stalwarts signed off for the last time.
Bob Schieffer, 78, joined CBS News in 1969 prior to working at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In 1973, he became anchor of the Saturday edition of CBS Evening News, followed by Sunday’s public affairs show ‘Face the Nation’. This past Sunday, he left the news. And arguably, the unbiased, non-partisan industry of story-telling journalism left with him.
While his folksy approach to asking the pressing question endeared him to many of those caught in his Texas cross hairs, he never once sought out to become an entertainment personality because all he ever appeared to care about was the news — the story, the facts, the tale of something left for the American public to decide.
And now, that’s all gone.
Cronkite. Jennings. Brokaw. Rather. Murrow. King. Shaw. They are all gone from major network news, and while they blazed a trail for all other journalists to follow, most of them haven’t. Instead, they have gone the way of Morton Downey, Jr. — opining the most controversial of views, swilling whatever beverages are within reach, puffing like a freight train, and resounding nothing.
Folks like Cooper, Blitzer, Maddow, O’Reilly, and Matthews may not be violating FCC codes during their reports like Downey, but they certainly have no issues offering opinion throughout the news when all it used to be was fact.
The days of the furrowed journalist clad in trench coat and fedora are gone. Here are the bloviating talking head serving up more propaganda than a Super PAC advertisement during mid-term elections.
Will the news ever get back to what it should be? Probably not. Will star TV anchors ever proclaim those regaled days of news unfettered and personalities cast aside? Definitely not. There are too many ratings and too much money. And more than enough options for people to watch something else.
PR professionals of the world, you may not realize it but this is definitely not your mother’s news. Heck, it wasn’t even Schieffer’s news. Maybe that’s why he is gone…and the rest of real journalism gone with him.