David Rhodes Defends CBS News Election Coverage

By A.J. Katz 

As CBS This Morning continues to grow its viewership, CBS affiliates are taking notice. A few of them still don’t carry the full broadcast. Most notably, WWL, the CBS station in New Orleans (market #50), which airs local news from 7-9 a.m.

But that changes Monday. CBS News president David Rhodes was in New Orleans earlier this week to tout the addition.

While there, Rhodes also attended a luncheon for the Bureau of Governmental Research, where he found himself defending CBS News against accusations of mainstream media bias during a lengthy Q&A session.

“I think it’s hard to make the case that people didn’t have the information they needed,” Rhodes said in response to a question about the network’s election coverage.

He acknowledged that public trust in the national news outlets is poor right now, but claimed that some of the onus falls on online news consumers who often turn to sources with ideologies that match their own, as opposed to expanding their news consumption horizons.

“This is why I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing that we’re unpopular,” said Rhodes. “Our job is to be skeptical, and to ask questions that might be uncomfortable.”

When asked about claims that Donald Trump was able to manipulate the mainstream national media to his electoral advantage, Rhodes wasn’t buying it. “Sometimes when people don’t like the outcome of a situation they want to assign that blame somewhere. I think just in my experience we’re not that powerful.”

Rhodes also talked about the importance of live, on-the-ground reporting, as opposed to having left/right pundits sitting at a table debating politics and policy.

“What we do is expensive,” said Rhodes. “Talk is cheap, so people produce a lot of talk.”