Ousted CBS News Chief Denounced MRC as “Extreme,” Insisted CBS Free of Bias

<img vspace="0" hspace="0" border="0" align="right" src="/media/2000-07-31-CSPHeyward.jpg" />Earlier today <a href="http://newsbusters.org/node/2494">Matthew Sheffield posted</a> how “the last casualty of the CBS Memogate scandal happened earlier today” with the announcement that CBS News President Andrew Heyward will be replaced. In 2000, appearing on C-SPAN the day before the start of the Republican convention in Philadelphia, Heyward denied a caller's contention that CBS reflected a liberal bias and denigrated MRC President Brent Bozell and the late Reed Irvine of Accuracy in Media as “activists and extremists of the Right.” Heyward argued that viewers confused “tough questions” to “the establishment” posed by CBS reporters with liberal bias and went so far as to seriously maintain that of &quot;the people I work with, many of them are surprisingly conservative.&quot; Plus, he said with a straight face: &quot;Our job is to communicate the truth to people.&quot; (A 2000 MRC article about Heyward's comments follows.)<br /><br /><b>Video</b> excerpt tracked down, by Karen Hanna, from the MRC archive: <a href="/media/2000-07-31-CSPHeyward.rm">Real</a> or <a href="/media/2000-07-31-CSPHeyward.wmv">Windows Media</a><br /><br />
<!--break--> A reprint of a short article in the Monday, July 31, 2000 Morning Edition of the MRC's twice-daily, three-page <i>Media Reality Check</i> on the party conventions, in this case on the Republican convention at Philadelphia's Comcast Center from which Heyward appeared the afternoon before, Sunday, on a C-SPAN call-in show. <br /><blockquote>CBS News President: MRC &quot;Extremists of the Right&quot;<br /><br />&quot;Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I do deny that we have a bias, and I'm familiar with the work that [Brent] Bozell and [Reed] Irvine do. They are activists and extremists of the Right,&quot; declared CBS News President Andrew Heyward Sunday afternoon on C-SPAN in dismissing a caller who asked about liberal media bias on CBS documented by the Media Research Center and Accuracy in Media.<br /><br />After denigrating the work of the heads of the two groups, Heyward proceeded to claim &quot;the people I work with, many of them are surprisingly conservative.&quot;<br /><br />As for why people see a liberal bias, Heyward maintained it's only because &quot;as journalists we're always holding the establishment up to scrutiny, whether it's a Republican or a Democratic administration, a Republican or a Democratic Congress.&quot;<br /><br />&quot;It's our job to ask tough questions and to shine a light in corners that might otherwise remain dark. And if you tend to be conservative, by definition somebody who's constantly challenging the status quo, even though that's how we see our jobs, is seen potentially as unpatriotic or they're anti-government, anti-American.&quot;<br /><br />He ended his answer by insisting: &quot;Our job is to communicate the truth to people.&quot;</blockquote><br />A standard not quite met by him and Dan Rather in Memogate a little more than four years later.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center