Schieffer: McCain Campaign 'Demeaning to Women' Because No Palin Press Conferences
Is Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCainâs campaign strategy âdemeaning to women?â Yes, according to CBSâs Bob Schieffer, because the McCain camp is selective about when and where GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin makes media appearances
Schieffer, the host of CBSâs Sunday morning public affairs program, âFace the Nation,â appeared at Politics & Prose, a bookstore in
Schieffer, who is scheduled to moderate the last presidential debate between Obama and McCain, on October 15th, called it the McCain campaignâs âobligationâ to make Alaska Gov. Palin available to the press. He criticized the McCain campaign for not breaking her onto the media scene as rapidly as some might like. Schieffer suggested Palinâs gender may even be playing a role in the campaignâs strategy.
âSome in the McCain campaign are saying that we are holding her to a double standard,â Schieffer said. âI think it is demeaning to women and demeaning to her not to let her come out and hold a news conference like any other candidate would hold. I actually think she will, but I think they need to get on with it.â
Schieffer, 71, has been an employee of CBS News since 1969. He commented on the uncertainty of the future of journalism, including what may lie ahead for the print edition of newspapers.
âThis technological revolution that weâre going through now in journalism â we donât know where itâs going to end,â Schieffer said. âFive years from now, are there going to be newspapers? I hope to goodness that there are because Iâm one of those who grew up reading newspapers. I wouldnât know how to start my day if I didnât read the newspaper.â
Schieffer told the audience he wasnât sure whether or not if thereâd still be the print edition of newspapers in five years, if it would all be downloaded to an electronic device, like an iPod, but he was certain thereâd always be the need for the mainstream media.
âWhat we do know is there will always be a need in a democracy for accurate information,â Schieffer said. âThere will always be a need for reporters and there will always be a need for the kind of journalism that I like to think I practice and that is the mainstream journalism where when we report a story, we may get it wrong from time to time, but itâs based on some fact.â
Schieffer used an Internet rumor concerning Palinâs daughters as example of how the unregulated blogosphere was being used as a conduit for spreading unsubstantiated stories.
âWe are living now in a world we have never dealt with before and itâs changed everything from the way politicians run for office, from the way we report raw news and Iâll just give you an example of that,â Schieffer said. âAnd, that is in this blogosphere â you know there were all these stories going around on the Internet going about Sarah Palin. Now the press is getting a lot of heat for bringing this up.â
However, Schieffer absolved the mainstream press â specifically the broadcast networks, the cable news channels and the âbigâ newspapers â of not propagating the rumors the McCain campaign had to later issue a statement refuting.
âWe didnât bring it up,â Schieffer said. âWe never wrote a word about any of this â about these rumors about Sarah Palinâs daughter that wasnât really her daughter and all that kind of thing. We never wrote a word about any of that. Nobody at any of the networks, any of the cable companies, at any of the big newspapers until the McCain campaign put out a statement and said that Sarah Palinâs daughter was pregnant and that she was making this public because she was trying to put down these vicious rumors that were going around on the blogs.â
âNow that doesnât mean while we never wrote a word about it that we werenât checking on it,â Schieffer added. âObviously as a journalist when you get a tip on a news story, you have to check it out. The only way you can check it out is to ask questions and investigate. But I take it as a little bit unfair to criticize the press for the questions we ask. What we should be held responsible for is what we write and what we report, but that is just an example of what we are dealing with here.â
Despite Schiefferâs network having been embroiled in a controversy during the last presidential cycle â where documents that were critical of President George W. Bushâs National Guard service turned out to be forgeries, as pointed out in the blogosphere, he said he wasnât intending âknock down blogs.â He was just intending on criticizing the standards some blogs arenât held to.
âYou know the worst newspaper in the world has one person whoâs the editor who knows where the stuff came from â itâs in that newspaper,â Schieffer added. âStuff pops up on these blogs and you donât know where it came from.â