Rooney: An Idea For CBS News

Andy Rooney Has A Plan For Re-Establishing Network's Credibility

The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by correspondent Andy Rooney.

I've worked for CBS for 55 years now. You get loyal to anything you're involved with for that long, whether it deserves it or not.

But I like CBS News, and I don't feel real good about it these days because of the questionable documents that were used on the broadcast in the story about President Bush's National Guard service.

To tell you the truth, I don't care whether the president got help from the old man or not. I was in the Army for four years, and if my father could have gotten me out of it, I'd have taken his help.

This incident hurt the credibility of CBS News though, and I want to make a suggestion to Sumner Redstone, the chairman of the board of Viacom, the company which now owns CBS.

You're one of the richest people in the world, Sumner, if I may call you Sumner. People say you're one of the smartest, too. If I seem to be sucking up to you here, it's because I want to sell you an idea.

How about this for re-establishing the credibility of CBS News?

Turn our Evening News With Dan Rather into a one-hour broadcast seven nights a week. Provide it as a public service in exchange for the license that CBS has to make hundreds of millions of dollars from the entertainment shows that Les Moonves puts on.

The American public gets most of its news from television, and it doesn't get enough. The Evening News is 20 minutes long -- nowhere near long enough to tell Americans what's going on in their own country, let alone anywhere else.

One of the reasons America is hated around the world is because we're ignorant of everyone else's problems, and that's partly our fault. Television provides too little foreign news.

So, send a bunch of CBS reporters to other countries, too, so we give viewers an idea of what's happening somewhere other than here. If CBS News was on the air every night for an hour, it might make people forget this mistake.

One more thing, Sumner. I'd like to have a small part in the one-hour broadcast myself. I'd sit at a desk over in the corner of the newsroom, and any time I disagreed with something, I could interrupt. My part would be called "Wait A Damn Minute With Andy Rooney."

I'd like to have had that desk at the Bush/Kerry debate, too.
Written By Andy Rooney