Schieffer Newsflash: Politicians Just ‘Tell Us What We Want to Hear’

In his "Final Word" at the end of Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer made the cliched charge:

Candidates now race to tell us what we want to hear. They load us down with spin, tiptoe around controversial issues, and give us tortured explanations of how a change in their position really wasn't a change at all.

This pandering to popular public sentiment toward politicians was brought on by Schieffer quoting a November 20 Op/Ed piece by "New York Times" commentator David Brooks, who wrote of Rudy Giuliani’s recent shift to a tougher stance against illegal immigration. Schieffer took the last line of the "Times" article, where Brooks lamented how "Some day Rudy Giuliani will look back on this moment and wonder why he didn't run as himself." How dare Giuliani pander to those right-wingers who want secure borders.

Fortunately, Schieffer made sure to tell it like is: "My bet is not many people believe any of it, because frankly we're not that dumb. What annoys me is that these candidates seem to think we are." Of course no one wants to hear that they are smarter than politicians think they are.

Don’t you just hate it when news anchors just "tell us what we want to hear?"

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

BOB SCHIEFFER: Finally today, David Brooks the conservative voice on the "New York Times" op-ed page ended his Friday essay on Rudy Giuliani's campaign this way, quote, "Some day Rudy Giuliani will look back on this moment and wonder why he didn't run as himself." It was the last line in a column about how Giuliani has, shall we say, shifted his emphasis on immigration policy since he became a presidential candidate. To me it was not so much a column about one candidate, but modern American politics in general and what it has become. Telling people what they want to hear to win elections is nothing new, of course. But advances in technology have taken it to new levels because computers and polling have made it so much easier to gauge public opinion. Candidates now race to tell us what we want to hear. They load us down with spin, tiptoe around controversial issues, and give us tortured explanations of how a change in their position really wasn't a change at all. That somehow what we thought they believed back then, is just the opposite of what they believe now. My bet is not many people believe any of it, because frankly we're not that dumb. What annoys me is that these candidates seem to think we are. That's it for us. We'll see you next week right here on "Face the Nation."

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC