50 Years Of <I>Face The Nation</i>

Weekly commentary by Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer.

Well, finally, this was a big day for all of us here at Face The Nation. As we said in the beginning, today is the 50th anniversary of this broadcast. We've been marking the anniversary throughout the year with our Face The Nation Flashbacks, but it was 50 years ago today, November 7th, 1954, that that first broadcast aired.

The first one had a rather quaint beginning. Moderator Ted Koop simply looked into the camera and said, `How do you do?' But the guest was a big guest. Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy who appeared on the eve of the Senate debate on whether he should be censured and he was, of course.

Face The Nation has survived to become the second oldest program on television, but what is remarkable to me is that it is virtually the same program that it was in the beginning. We don't do anything very fancy here. We just invite the top newsmakers of the week to sit at this table and then we ask them questions. The emphasis here is on content not on volume, which may be why Face The Nation has become more than a venerable broadcast. It has become a window on history.

Just this once I want to say that if you'd like to know more about its history, look for my new book "Face The Nation" at bookstores and online. It includes a two-hour DVD with excerpts from some of the memorable broadcasts.

All of us here are proud of what Face The Nation has become over the years, but we recognize its real power and influence does not come from us but from all of you, the millions of you who watch each week. We try to put the news of the week in context but you are the ones who decide what to do about it. For that, we thank you.

By Bob Schieffer
MMIV, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved


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