What do you do at CBS News?
I am executive producer of "Face the Nation." I have been at CBS for 22 years, all with "Face the Nation."What single issue should be covered more at CBS News?
The environment. Although with the global warming situation hard to ignore, I figure that will change.Give us a great behind the scenes story.
I really don't have a good behind the scenes story.Have you ever been assigned a story you objected to? How did you deal with it?
I've never been assigned to a story I objected to, but once I had to call relatives of Iranian hostages and that was no fun. "Face the Nation" doesn't do murdered-or-not-in-Aruba stories so there is very little to object to. My least favorite stories to cover are probably budget or health care issues. I know they're very important, and I know we have to cover them, but sometimes when I look back on old transcripts on those kinds of shows, they all look indistinguishable to me.If you were not in news, what would you be doing?
I'd probably be a writer, or a chef, or a movie reviewer, except that I'm fully aware that if you make a hobby your job, you run the risk of ending up hating it.Do you read blogs? If so, which ones? If not, what do you read on the Internet?
I don't read blogs. In fact, I am anti-blog. If I want to hear a bunch of unedited thoughts -- that's what friends are for. Who has the time? Too many newspapers and magazines. Which, one hopes, have been edited.What's the last really great book or movie you found?
Last really terrific book I read was All the Kings Men. I gather they are making a movie of it, which is hard to imagine. But the writing is great and the subjects, power and politicians, are just as relevant today as they were when it was written.What is your first memory of TV news?
I remember shots of the man walking on the moon. My parents watched Huntley and Brinkley, and I remember the closing line. And I remember very vividly the pictures of JFK's funeral. I remember asking my father why the boots on the rider-less horse were backwards. (At least, that's how I remember it.)If you could change one thing about the profession of journalism, what would it be?
The most frustrating thing about television journalism is the lack of ability on most broadcasts to delve deeply into a subject -- and I'm pretty lucky with 20 minutes of airtime!! The second most frustrating thing is that a lot of politicians have been told by their highly paid consultants that they don't really have to answer questions, that they should just say whatever they came on to say, regardless of the question. Consultants call this "staying on message." I call it insulting to the viewer, and I believe it's the main reason for a bad interview. So there.Who is the most fascinating person you've covered and who is the biggest jerk?
I think Moynihan or McCain in the fascinating column. I won't talk about the biggest jerk(s); suffice it to say, they know who they are...Finally, a question from RonMwanga, posted in comments:
Is there a fiery competition to get guests among the Sunday morning talk shows? For example, John McCain last week on immigration was the perfect guest. How do you woo a guest like him to come on? Obviously he wants to speak about his message, but is he also barraged by the bookers at Stephanopoulos as well?
The competition to get guests among the Sunday talk shows is fierce. But some of the guests, like Sen. McCain, go on the Sunday shows by rotation, which is really the only fair way to do it. I was surprised that Sen. McCain wasn't asked more about immigration on that show. He is very passionate about it, and as usual, a great guest. He answers questions.