CBS NEWS: FAIR AND BALANCED?
Is it just me or has anyone else noticed something dramatically unfolding at CBS news, namely that their news segments are becoming extraordinarily, bending over backwards, fair? Is it moving out of the editorial game and back to its roots into the news gathering game? Of course, they would deny that they were ever onesided ideologically but ahem, cough, cough, most of us conservatives would beg to differ.
First I started noticing that 60 Minutes was offering two sides to their stories, even the hit and run bad businessman stories. Some of them would have been pretty easy to stop half way, when the blood was up and we in the audience were all angry at the polluting, tax evading, scheming, white businessman. Instead, they would take it a step further, show the other side and totally disarm the viewers.
A few months ago, a CBS producer named Shawn Efran produced a segment about Christians in Iraq before and after Saddam Hussein. It was so rich in irony and so educational in general that I was left speechless. This was a truly entertaining, informative and highly relevant segment. But the old CBS would have driven the point home with a hammer and nail, instead it just left the document on the table for us to peruse at our own pace and draw our own conclusions. I was left thinking how ridiculous it is send our boys to die to bring democracy to a country that will promptly use it to vote democracy out of existence again. But there was no push and shove, it was all just show and tell.
Then last night The CBS Evening News With Katie Couric ran a Dennis Quaid piece, with the famous actor testifying before congress, with tears in his eyes about a product labeling issue that almost cost the life of his babies. A good piece, but CBS didn’t stop. It immediately showed a congressman on the other side of the issue, with a tear in his eye as well. It blew me away. It took an open minded, intellectually curious producer, time and skill to weigh the factors in that story, edit it appropriately and show us in just seconds the real dilemma. The producer, whomever it may have been, could have taken the easy way out and the popular way out. He or she didn’t.
I suspect that something is going on at CBS, that this is all no coincidence, that someone has decided, “let’s just ignore the critics and pontificators and do straight news stories as carefully and accurately as we can and let’s just see what happens.” Professionalism in any industry is wonderful to behold. Meanwhile, to whomever made that decision or was in the board room that day….. “Congratulations, it shows.”