Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thank You, Bob Schieffer

According to various news outlets, CBS newsman Bob Schieffer, who has anchored Face the Nation since 1991, said Tuesday he plans to step down from the Sunday morning political talk show with the inauguration of a new president.

The start of a new administration next January provides a natural transition, he said.

"That's when I'll stop doing what I'm doing now," Schieffer, who turns 71 next month, told The Associated Press. "But I'll still have some relationship with CBS, at least I hope so."

Schieffer has talked retirement before. The bladder cancer survivor once planned to step down when he reached 70, but he spent a year and a half filling in as CBS Evening News anchor between the exit of Dan Rather and entrance of Katie Couric. He helped improve the ratings, got good reviews and enjoyed a chance at the top job that he never thought he'd have.

Since Couric's CBS debut in the fall of 2006, Schieffer has stopped commuting to New York and concentrated on the Nation. Also since Couric's debut on the CBS Evening News, the show has faltered terribly in the ratings.

In my view, and as I have stated several times in the past, it was a mistake for CBS to replace Schieffer with Couric. I tried to tell everybody that, but no one listened. Schieffer deftly contributed an old-school, professional style to the network news troph, and he was awesome; purely awesome. In his wake, Couric transferred her sarcastic, meanie-face post from NBC's Today Show - and brought it CBS prime-time.

She was the wrong choice from the get-go, and remains so. Though she is all the richer for it, we are none the wiser.

Moral of this news story?

It's the same moral for any story:

Know a good thing when you see it.

That said, good night and good luck, Mr. Schieffer. And thank you for everything. You are a credit to your profession and to everyone's humanity.

Ms. Couric and her CBS News cronie decision makers?

Not so much.

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