CBS’s Schieffer: Media Bias ‘Irrelevant,’ Can Get News ‘Anyway You Want It’

Bob Schieffer, C-SPAN Appearing on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal Tuesday, CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer dismissed the notion of liberal media bias: "...there is so much media out there now that the idea of bias in the media, it’s almost become irrelevant. I mean, we’re in this age of opinion journalism, where you can get the news served up almost anyway you want it."

Schieffer went on to compare biased media coverage to ordering eggs: "If you want to hear it from a conservative point of view, you can find plenty of places on the dial to get that. If you want to see it served up from a, you know, a no apology liberal point of view you can get it served up that way. It’s almost like going into a restaurant and ordering eggs, you can get them sunny side up, scrabbled, with a little Jalapeno pepper if you want it."

Clearly, CBS has routinely served up news coverage with a distinctly liberal flavor for years, the latest example being CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith conducting a fawning interview with President Obama in which he asked the President where he "learned to love" and about the behavior of the White House dog.

Later in the Washington Journal interview, a caller challenged Schieffer’s assertions: "Like you said, you can get your eggs anyway you want in this information age. But I’ll tell you where you can’t get conservative opinion, you can’t get it on channel 4, ABC, you can’t get it on channel 7, NBC, and you can’t get it on channel 9, CBS."

The caller, Joe from Fredericksburg, Virginia, continued to excoriate Schieffer and his collegues: "On Sunday – this Sunday I spent all day watching you guys, you got [ABC This Week host] George Stephanopoulos, Democrat, okay. You’ve got the roundtables. Every time there’s a roundtable, there’s George Stephanopoulos, who’s a Democrat, three other Democrats, and one conservative. I’ve never turned your show on, on a weekly basis, where Bob Schieffer says ‘we're done with our guests now – now it’s time for the roundtable’ and there’s three conservatives and one liberal. And I mean week in and week out. There’s nowhere that I can go to get my opinion heard."

Later, Schieffer attempted to discount Joe’s criticism, managing to cite only one moderate Republican who routinely appears on Face the Nation: "We have conservatives on our roundtable. David Brooks at the New York Times is – is a very frequent visitor to Face the Nation and one of the best columnists going today. So, I simply don’t agree with you on that point."

Here is a transcript of the relevant portions of the interview:

9:02AM:

STEVE SCULLY: When you were on the air Sunday with Senator John McCain, Chris Wallace, on the air, actually in our building, on Fox News Sunday. And in the roundtable discussion the sentiment was that the mainstream media, ABC, NBC, CBS, has a bias in favor of Barack Obama. Can you address that?

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, I think we’re just trying to cover the news, is what I think we’re trying to do. And it’s almost, Steve – and I – I think it’s a good question, I think it’s a legitimate question, and it’s a point we ought to discuss. But there is so much media out there now that the idea of bias in the media, it’s almost become irrelevant. I mean, we’re in this age of opinion journalism, where you can get the news served up almost anyway you want it. If you want to hear it from a conservative point of view, you can find plenty of places on the dial to get that. If you want to see it served up from a, you know, a no apology liberal point of view you can get it served up that way. It’s almost like going into a restaurant and ordering eggs, you can get them sunny side up, scrabbled, with a little Jalapeno pepper if you want it. It’s there if you want it. I think the thing is that – what the mainstream media must be is the place that if people don’t agree with every bit of opinion that is expressed, and there is opinion expressed on mainstream media, I do a commentary every Sunday. You can agree or disagree with that, but what I hope people do when they watch CBS is they can agree that this is a place where the facts are correct, where we have gone to every – to every length we can to make sure we get this story right. And that’s – that’s what our role is, I think.

9:41AM:

SCULLY: Joe, good morning, from Fredericksburg, Virginia.

JOE: Oh, good morning. Bob, it’s a pleasure to speak to you.

SCHIEFFER: Thanks, Joe.

JOE: I want to get to this point of the – of the, you know, the liberal bias. I’m going to rap off a couple things real quick. Like you said, you can get your eggs anyway you want in this information age. But I’ll tell you where you can’t get conservative opinion, you can’t get it on channel 4, ABC, you can’t get it on channel 7, NBC, and you can’t get it on channel 9, CBS. When we talk about the mainstream media, we are talking about the three major networks, not cable news, okay. On Sunday – this Sunday I spent all day watching you guys, you got George Stephanopoulos, Democrat, okay. You’ve got the roundtables. Every time there’s a roundtable, there’s George Stephanopoulos, who’s a Democrat, three other Democrats, and one conservative. I’ve never turned your show on, on a weekly basis, where Bob Schieffer says ‘we're done with our guests now – now it’s time for the roundtable’ and there’s three conservatives and one liberal. And I mean week in and week out. There’s nowhere that I can go to get my opinion heard, unless I get on the internet to some freaky, freaky website.

...

SCHIEFFER: As for the roundtables and so forth, I’d – you know, I don’t have much to do with George Stephanopoulos and – and who he decides to put on his program on Sundays. He has the same relationship with me. You know, he has a program, I have a program. We have conservatives on our roundtable. David Brooks at the New York Times is – is a very frequent visitor to Face the Nation and one of the best columnists going today. So, I simply don’t agree with you on that point. But I would just have to say, to wind up a very long answer, I go back to what I said in the beginning, there is so much out there right now that you can – you can kind of get it anyway you want it. I think, to be truly informed, a person has to depend on more than one source of news in getting their information.

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