Kerry Spot [ jim geraghty reporting ]
A SENSE OF 'IMPENDING DOOM' AT CBS?
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From USA Today:
Says [Steve] Kroft's boss, Jeff Fager: "People are looking forward to it being finished. It hovers over the organization."
They are referring, of course, to the mood around CBS News as an independent panel prepares to release its findings on the circumstances surrounding Dan Rather's controversial "Memogate" piece on the Wednesday edition of 60 Minutes this fall that questioned President Bush's National Guard service.
The findings, which are due in days, could result in some longtime CBS News veterans such as Rather, his producers and CBS News higher ups being sanctioned or even fired. CBS chief Leslie Moonves said last week that although he has not yet seen the report, he expects Rather to continue reporting for 60 Minutes. But the fate of many others is less certain, and it weighs heavily at CBS News.
"There are so many people involved whom I consider my friends," says Kroft, who with Fager works on the Sunday 60 Minutes. "All of them are great journalists, and it's very hard to see them go through this process. They're in these jobs because they're very good."
Actually, I think one could argue that they're not "very good." If they were "very good," they wouldn't have ended up in this situation.
Really, CBS employees shouldn't be as hostile, resentful, and anxious about this independent panel's findings as they are. Think of it as necessary surgery or strong medicine.
And CBS could go one of three routes from this point. One, they could try to clean up their act, stop behaving as if their job is to drive President Bush from office, cover viewpoints beyond the left, and attempt to break up the groupthink that has calcified their news judgment.
Two, they could define themselves as the left-of-center news channel, and aim for the blue state audience. Instead of trying to prevent bias, they could embrace it, and make it part of their brand identity. "CBS News: The channel that progressives prefer."
Three, they could define themselves as the tabloid news channel, rushing things to air without checking, and intentionally eroding their standards for accuracy in the name of being first. They could be one part supermarket checkout line tabloid, one part Drudge, one part Wonkette, one part British Fleet Street scandal sheet... They could make corrections part of each night's newscast, and become really entertaining, if only partially factual. (Right now much of CBS News is boring and only partially factual.)
UPDATE: Of course, what would one expect from a guy who writes for CBS News' web site like me?
[Posted 12/06 04:39 PM]