TV Host Tired of ‘Partisan Games,’ Keeps Playing Them Anyway

FireShot Screen Capture #645 - 'Schieffer_ The high cost of the government shutdown - CBS News Video' - www_cbsnews_com_video_watch__id=50157508nCBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer‘s October 20 commentary took aim at the government shutdown, as the veteran journalist discussed a nearby takeout sandwich shop that suffered when government workers were at home instead of at the office.

He went on:

A big story like the shutdown tends to push things that often matter off the front pages and TV. Here’s just one that got almost no attention–a survey out last week showed nearly half the students in our public schools, 48 percent, come from families so poor they qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Even more disgraceful, a majority of student now qualify for food subsidies in 17 states across the South and West. I’d like to see our elected officials begin to focus on how we fix things like that.

Like my friend at the carry-out, I’m losing interest in who wins the partisan games.

It’s hard to argue with the idea that poverty matters–and that politicians should be forced to pay attention to poverty and inequality. And it’s not a stretch to say these issues are grossly undercovered by corporate media.

But Bob Schieffer isn’t just a guy with an opinion about what’s not being discussed on TV. He hosts a TV show every week. Before this commentary, he interviewed politicians–Republican senators Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, and also Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia. They talked about the effects of the government shutdown and the strategic moves by leaders in both major parties–“partisan games,” in other words. He had a roundtable discussion later on with insider Beltway journalists, mostly discussing the same things.

That’s a typical week at Face the Nation. Schieffer’s  most frequent guest has been Republican Sen. John McCain. His show, like the other network Sunday programs, are a forum for mostly white, mostly male, mostly Republican lawmakers and establishment journalists.

If Bob Schieffer is really “losing interest in who wins the partisan games,” and thinks we should be talking about issue like poverty that are “off the front pages and TV,” he can do something about it.


About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.