Bob Schieffer of CBS will moderate the final debate tonight. He told David Bianculli of Broadcasting & Cable magazine that he doesn’t want the debate to be about him. But then he strangely suggested that “I felt very badly for Tom Brokaw during this last [debate], because he was so constrained by the format … It was very difficult for Brokaw to interject and get follow-up questions in there.”
It’s true that Brokaw didn’t find the candidates were sticking to rigid time limits, a typical candidate problem, but most viewers felt Brokaw was not constrained by the format, but half-abandoned the format, throwing most “town hall” questions in the trash can so he could ask more of his own.
Schieffer is not only a fan of Brokaw, but a fan of mugging jester Jon Stewart:
I think the late-night shows, Jon Stewart, [Stephen] Colbert – all of these programs are very, very important. I know some people see Jon Stewart as some sort of threat to the republic or something, but I don’t at all. Number one, Jon is a very smart guy.
And I think these programs are to television what the editorial page cartoonist is to the newspaper. The editorial page cartoonist is the only guy on the newspaper who has the right to lie. Because that’s what parody is. He takes it one step beyond where it is, and it helps us to see things sometimes in a much clearer way.
Schieffer has this in common with Brokaw, who lauded Stewart at the start of 2005 in a short toast of an article for the Time 100, the list of most influential Americans: “in many ways last year, Jon Stewart was our Athenian, a voice for democratic ideals and the noble place of citizenship, helped along by the sound of laughter.”
It’s all warmth and high-fives in the liberal media clique.