Norah O’Donnell Claims Journalism, Civility, Trust ‘Under Attack’

May 9th, 2019 10:19 PM

Instead of continuing to stay the course and attempt to resemble balance in a newscast, CBS News has decided that, with a change in anchor, they'll be going further leftward in moving longtime CBS This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell to the position of CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor to replace Jeff Glor (who announced his final show will be Friday).

In an Variety article about the change reported on Tuesday by senior TV editor Brian Steinberg, O’Donnell spoke about taking over the famous newscast in the summer in New York before moving the show permanently to Washington later in the year.

To illustrate the tone that the program will take and how it'll be an extension of her lengthy record of bias at CBS This Morning, O’Donnell then stated as if she were channeling Brian Stelter: “Journalism is under attack. Civility is under attack. Trust is under attack...We have to fix that, not only with great reporting, but with trust in the news and trust in our brand.”

And according to CBS News head Susan Zirinsky: “This is not an inside-Washington broadcast. It is holding those in Washington accountable. This is about revealing America to itself.” By taking the show to The Swamp? Not sure how that'll work out, but the chances of that happening are slim.

Part of regaining the trust of viewers is the move to Washington, D.C., which Steinberg called O’Donnell’s “old stomping grounds” from her time as a White House correspondent for NBC News (and where her husband Geoff Tracy owns a series of restaurants).

That’s where “everything from the Korea trade deal to the prices for milk farmers in Iowa gets decided,” she noted. That location “has always kind of fascinated me.”

“Quite frankly,” O’Donnell noted, “I think this [change] brings attention back to who we are and the legacy and standard that we are all about. I can tune out the noise because I have the mission in front of me.”

O’Donnell’s move is one of many orchestrated by new CBS News President Susan Zirinsky in a bid to promote a news organization that, in the ratings war, has seen its CBS’s morning and evening news programs have seen viewership erode over the past 18 months in the wake of anchor changes at both newscasts. They include the Charlie Rose sexual misconduct scandal and Scott Pelley's ouster that led to his final show on June 16, 2017.

Zirinsky asserted that the new changes reflect where each journalist can do their best and, for O'Donnell: “O’Donnell’s time covering D.C. institutions and winning tough-to-get interviews suits her for the Evening News role.”

O’Donnell agreed with the changes: “Now that Susan has turned around the battleship, we are going to turn on the engines.”

At the close of Monday's show, Glor addressed the changes:

As we close tonight, a brief word. You may have heard about changes taking place here at CBS News, about moves that impact colleagues, the unmatched Evening News team, and me. The outpouring of support from you has been everything, so thank you for that. I like to think we're all guided we something bigger than one moment and one broadcast. I have always wanted to do work that matters and still do. That is something that will never change. I have family, friends, and in the future far more to share with all of you. It will be great. I promise. Just as you are.