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Bob Schieffer: ‘I wanted this to be special’

Two things really bother distinguished journalist Bob Schieffer — the state of politics and the state of journalism.

As for politics, “the entire system is broken,” Schieffer said Wednesday night. “The way we select our presidents, our candidates — it’s all about money.”

And for journalism, a problem is that “everybody who has a computer is a publisher.”

TCU alumnus Schieffer spoke from the stage of TCU’s Ed Landreth Auditorium with other notable journalists including legendary Watergate reporter Bob Woodward, Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal, Jane Pauley, formerly of the Today Show and Dateline NBC, and Scott Pelley of CBS’ Evening News.

Woodward, associate editor of The Washington Post, chimed in to say that there’s a leadership problem in both political parties, and President Barack Obama has isolated himself so much that even the Democrats feel out of touch.

The evening was TCU’s 10th annual Schieffer Symposium on the News. The annual event is organized by the school and Schieffer, who is CBS News’ chief Washington correspondent and host of Face the Nation.

All 1,200 seats in the auditorium were filled, and another room was set up for another 300 who watched a live feed.

Conservative columnist Noonan said that Washington is under-covered by the media today, and the Washington press corps are missing news. Noonan, who was a speechwriter for former President Ronald Reagan, predicted that the Republicans will take the Senate in November.

Both Woodward and Pelley agreed that Hillary Clinton will be the 2016 Democratic candidate.

“This Congress has shut down and hung out a sign that says, ‘We’ll be back after the elections,’ ” said Schieffer.

Schieffer got Pelley, another Texas-bred journalist, to do a live broadcast of the CBS Evening News from the Bob Schieffer College of Communication earlier in the day.

“I really wanted this to be special,” Shieffer said of the 10th anniversary. “It’s a big deal for us to bring the news to TCU. Tonight at 5:30 p.m., there were more people focused on TCU than there were since the Rose Bowl.”

He also announced that Pauley will join CBS News as a Sunday contributor. Pauley got her start at a CBS affiliate when she was in her early 20s.

“Bob has been tormenting me that I ‘defected,’ ” Pauley said, referring to Woodward. “CBS is the reason I had a 40 year career at NBC. I had to come back home.”

Schieffer said journalism has been “turned inside out and upside down” since his early days at the Star-Telegram. Although people have more access to information than ever, it’s usually “dead wrong,” he said.

“Maintaining standards will be an issue, and raising revenue to hire the people to maintain those standards will be an issue, too,” Noonan said.

In November, Schieffer will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Sunday public affairs talk show Face the Nation, which he has hosted for more than 20 years.

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