Bob Schieffer, the elderly moderator of CBS's Face the Nation, once dismissed Edward Snowden as "just a narcissistic young man who has decided he is smarter than the rest of us." Yesterday, Schieffer once again addressed the issues of privacy and the NSA. His performance was an embarrassment to journalism.
Furrier, social fixture, and permanent PETA target Dennis Basso turns 55 today. Téa Leoni is turning 43. Chelsea Handler is 34. Reclusive billionaire hedge fund manager Bruce Kovner is 64. Longtime CBS newsman Bob Schieffer is turning 72. Access Hollywood's Nancy O'Dell is 43. Actress Rashida Jones is turning 33. Actor Sean Astin is 38. Julio Iglesias, Jr., the son of Julio and brother of Enrique, is turning 36. Sally Jesse Raphael is 74. And Carrot Top turns 44 today.
PBS anchor Gwen Ifill has been a pundit for decades, but she shrewdly avoided controversy until the 2004 presidential campaign, when she moderated the vice presidential debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards. Remember that? At first you maybe thought, "How nice, that America has found a black woman it deems sufficiently sedated to moderate a big debate!" But then she slipped. Edwards brought up Cheney's old company Halliburton's multibillion profiteering in the Iraq, and Dick Cheney told her he would need more than the allotted 30 seconds to respond, and Ifill told him, "That's all you've got" to audience laughter, and that exposed her deep boiling black rage. Well, somehow the Attention Deficit Democracy allowed this bitter partisan to come back to moderate another VP debate. And big surprise: it turns out she is completely in the tank for Obama.She's been writing a secret book about him! Well, not just him. It's called The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama and it's about "emerging young African American politicians forging a bold new path to political power." And by "secret" I mean "to no one who read the AP story about it weeks before the McCain campaign approved Ifill as a moderator", and by "bold" they of course mean "actually the total opposite of" because that phrase is code for "emerging young African American politicians who somehow manage not to scare white people." One can only imagine Ifill, as the embodiment of PBS's quiet, sober, studiously inoffensive approach to covering the news, finds this topic personally interesting, because as a black woman she actually has to be significantly more boring than boring Washington establishment white guy pundits like Tom Brokaw or the late Tim Russert to prove that she does not have a chip on her shoulder or a loose cannon or anything remotely suggestive of an overly keen belief that slavery was wrong, and politicians can't be boring all the time. But whatever: now she's been exposed. Writing a book about a politician is practically the same as being on that politician's payroll, just ask Jerome Corsi. Is the McCain campaign trying to turn the obvious "shoot the moderator" tactics it just pulled on Katie Couric into a full-blown strategy? If so, as Media Matters points out, it's got some holes, not least because recent years have seen debates moderated by the likes of Bob Schieffer, a close personal friend of George W. Bush whose brother was a business partner of Bush's before the Supreme Court voted him president. Also, Tom Brokaw loves John McCain. But at the end of the day, would either of those guys make Sarah Palin sound any readier to navigate the collapse of our banking system or any number of our fragile Middle Eastern frenemy states? Yeah: no.
Take a listen to this original clip of former CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer crooning Honky Tonk Confidential's "How I Became An Anchorman," a version of which he sang for Viacom boss Sumner Redstone last week. This recording has Schieffer's original line.Rebuffing the advances of a gas-station customer, Schieffer warbles, "I said, excuse me, bud, but before you intrude, I ain't some Brokeback Mountain dude, my kind of cowboys live in Lonesome Dove."
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The line was changed after Heath Ledger's inconvenient death, so as not to appear, you know, callous or whatever. Because it was the death of the film's actor that made that particular line insensitive.
Katie Couric has "rarely" drawn an audience as large as the man she replaced atop the CBS Evening News, Bob Schieffer, the Times notes. Schieffer added 300,000 viewers during his 18 month tenure; Couric trails her rivals by two million after 17 months on the job. Yet Schieffer just announced he will retire and Couric remains in the anchor chair. [Times]
From a New Yorker review of hot new barbecue joint Hill Country: "Conversation is discouraged, most nights, by the raucous live acts, including, not long ago, CBS News's Bob Schieffer, who was fronting the D.C.-based band Honky Tonk Confidential. Sample lyrics: 'Excuse me, bud, before you intrude. I ain't some "Brokeback Mountain" dude.' Maybe the music ought to be left to Texas." Our heads just exploded a couple of times. [NYer]
• Page Six traffics in buzz, apparently. [NYT]
• Uncle Bob Schieffer might stick around to do end-of-show commentaries on Couric-led CBS Evening News. And also to show off his legs, of course. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
• Breaking: Daily News distributes sponsored copies! [NYT]
• It's hard to be a teen magazine. [Mediaweek]
• Real Simple loses two top editors; Details's Dan Peres tucks in. [WWD]
• Not New York news, but kind of huge: Former Los Angeles Times publisher Otis Chandler — the guy who made it actually a good paper, then got pissed off when Times Mirror CEO Mark Willes did his best to undo that — died today at 78. [LAT]
• Walter Cronkite thinks CBS should keep Bob Schieffer as Evening News anchor. Which we're sure matters not a whit to CBS execs, who could care less about attracting octogenarians. [SJMN]
• Simon Dumenco is angry, as always, and now he wants apologies, from Graydon Carter, Tom Ford, Carl Icahn, Atoosa Rubenstein, NBC, and others. Good luck with that one, Simey. [Ad Age]
• No one likes White House press briefings. Who knew? [NYT]
• Say hello to News Corp.'s new My Network TV, a network for stations orphaned by the UPN-WB deal and what's sure the be the place to turn for shows not quite good enough to make one of those two flailing former networks. [NYT]
• Bob Schieffer is a folksy country doctor who performs with backup singers. [NYT]
• Those office pirates are multitalented: That's Office Pirates creator Mark Remy, former EIC of Giant mag, acting in several of the new Time Inc. humor site's video clips, which were shot by his colleague Mark Golin, former EIC of Maxim. [WWD]