Bob Schieffer Fails the American Public

The model for the American press corps

Bob Schieffer of CBS News will moderate the final Presidential debate, which is supposed to focus on foreign policy and global issues.  The Commission on Presidential Debates recently announced Schieffer’s topic list:

* America’s role in the world

* Our longest war – Afghanistan and Pakistan

* Red Lines – Israel and Iran

* The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – I

* The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – II

* The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World

Notice something missing?  Nothing on climate change, the most formidable and difficult global issue confronting this country for the next century.  I have nothing against Schieffer, but this is a serious abdication of responsibility.  They are going to spend 15-20 minutes arguing about Benghazi, which as a friend noted, will be something like Quemoy and Matsu a few years from now, i.e. a historical footnote that puzzles future observers as to how supposedly serious people could focus on ephemera.

If we are so lucky, in 100 years there will be historians who will research and publish about American politics during this time period.  They will ask, how could it be that people could have ignored the world’s greatest threat?  The only answer will be the collapse of the integrity of major American governance institutions, such as the press, which has been a central goal of the Republican Party since Newt Gingrich.  And the failure to discuss climate in a 90-minute debate supposedly focused on global issues will be Exhibit A.

, , ,

Reader Comments

8 Replies to “Bob Schieffer Fails the American Public”

  1. to be fair, no one has “Environmental Policy” as one of the major concerns, because the current motto is “WE NEED JOBS”. What makes me scared, is that people may be agreeing with the ads on TV sponsored by AmericanPower.

  2. to be fair, no one has “Environmental Policy” as one of the major concerns, because the current motto is “WE NEED JOBS”. What makes me scared, is that people may be agreeing with the ads on TV sponsored by AmericanPower.

  3. Ironies, of course, abound:

    1) Failure to address climate change now will cause enormous destruction and erosion of global productive capacity. If one is interested in a strong economy, it is imperative to do the proper thing about climate change now; and

    2) We are currently in a liquidity trap, in which the US economy is sluggish from a lack of aggregate demand. New regulations will actually force spending by US firms, and thus will aid in a recovery.

    But you are right that of course no one wants to talk about that.

  4. Ironies, of course, abound:

    1) Failure to address climate change now will cause enormous destruction and erosion of global productive capacity. If one is interested in a strong economy, it is imperative to do the proper thing about climate change now; and

    2) We are currently in a liquidity trap, in which the US economy is sluggish from a lack of aggregate demand. New regulations will actually force spending by US firms, and thus will aid in a recovery.

    But you are right that of course no one wants to talk about that.

  5. Dear Jonathan,
    President Obama is behind and if he chooses to campaign on climate change and gay marriage then we all know that the race is lost (there is a strong political alliance between the advocates of these two issues which is functionally inseparable).

    Gay marriage offends ordinary citizens who believe in traditional family values and it diverts attention from climate change. Obama should try to downplay his support for climate change and curtail his passion for gay marriage.

  6. Dear Jonathan,
    President Obama is behind and if he chooses to campaign on climate change and gay marriage then we all know that the race is lost (there is a strong political alliance between the advocates of these two issues which is functionally inseparable).

    Gay marriage offends ordinary citizens who believe in traditional family values and it diverts attention from climate change. Obama should try to downplay his support for climate change and curtail his passion for gay marriage.

  7. The integrity of the “press,” defined broadly as the “media,” hasn’t completely collapsed. But you have to look. For example, this week on his program Bill Moyers interviews author and photographer James Balog, who has been recording and writing about the gobal-warming driven retreat of glaciers world-wide using cutting edge photographic techniques. It’s a fascinating and thought-provoking interview.

  8. The integrity of the “press,” defined broadly as the “media,” hasn’t completely collapsed. But you have to look. For example, this week on his program Bill Moyers interviews author and photographer James Balog, who has been recording and writing about the gobal-warming driven retreat of glaciers world-wide using cutting edge photographic techniques. It’s a fascinating and thought-provoking interview.

Comments are closed.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic – Land Use, the Environment and Loc…

READ more

POSTS BY Jonathan