Bob Schieffer is old-school at its finest.
There’s nothing about Schieffer, who announced late Wednesday that he’s stepping down as host of CBS’ Face the Nation this summer, that shouts hip or trendy.
And that’s a good thing.
Schieffer is 78. His roots go very deep into the history of network television, stretching back to and through the glory years. He joined CBS in 1969 — 46 years ago — after a stint in print at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Where he covered the Kennedy assassination.
Talk about an analog guy in a digital era. And yet Schieffer has always seemed relevant. He embodies that seriousness of purpose that was TV news at its best. Real news. Important news. No gotcha instincts. No trash with flash. No glam.
Despite those formidable handicaps, he has kept Face the Nation squarely in the mix with his straightforward, straight-down-the-middle approach, leading his rival programs. He is so highly regarded that when CBS needed an interim anchor for the nightly news after Dan Rather imploded in 2005, and before Katie Couric was coronated, Schieffer was pressed into service. And he did fine.
What makes Schieffer so cool is that he is completely, and unabashedly, uncool. Unlike embattled NBC anchor Brian Williams, you can bet heavily that Schieffer has never lusted after hosting The Tonight Show.
He has a gift that is invaluable in television, not to mention life: He seems preternaturally secure in his own skin.
In a fine piece on Schieffer as Face the Nation turned 60 last November, my colleague Roger Yu wrote of a photo on Schieffer’s wall, taken in a bar, of course, of Schieffer with fellow TV potentates Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Rather and the king of kings, Walter Cronkite. A wonderful snapshot of what network news once was.
Source: USA Today | Rem Rieder