CBS Newsreader Who Frets Industry 'Getting Big Stories Wrong Over and Over Again' Gets Big Story Wrong

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

CBS anchor Scott Pelley said at a speech at Quinnipiac University that journalists “are getting big stories wrong, over and over again.”


— Daniel Halper, the Weekly Standard, May 11, 2013.

In a recent interview, CBS Evening News host Scott Pelley said that he thinks that Fox News really doesn’t have very many viewers–underestimating the network’s actual ratings by about 90 percent.

Pelley told Deadline Hollywood that Fox might have perhaps as few as “200,000 viewers.”

Deadline asked Pelley what he thought of the cable news outlets that cater to “just one segment of the political spectrum in their reporting.”

“Certainly. It’s no surprise,” Pelley replied. “Fox is associated with the right and MSNBC is associated with the left and they’ve done that because it is a business model. It’s a strategy. They’ve decided to bite off one small part of the viewership and be happy with that 200,000 viewers, 300,000 viewers that they have.”

— “CBS’s Scott Pelley Underestimates Fox News Ratings by 90%,” Warner Todd Huston, Big Journalism, today.

Oh, and note this quote from Pelley in the same interview with Deadline Hollywood:

But when you are talking to 7 million viewers across the country, man you have got to represent everybody’s views and have got to give them the impression that you are being as honest as you know how to be.


As Huston noted at the conclusion of his post, Pelley overestimated his own numbers by almost a million and a half viewers. Beyond that, telling an interviewer that your goal is to give those viewers “the impression that you are being as honest as you know how to be” is veering dangerously close into the sort of sophistry that Pelley’s most infamous antecedent on CBS would approve:

Especially when far from attempting to “represent everybody’s views,” when it comes to global warming skeptics, Pelley notoriously said in a 2005 profile at CBS, “If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?”


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