Sunday, December 4, 2016

Charlie Rose & Civil Discourse

Full disclosure, I am a fan. Charlie Rose is a treasure. He is a very busy TV journalist. He does the CBS Morning News and The Charlie Rose Show on PBS. That's at least three hours of TV every weekday. He also does some segments on 60 Minutes, fills in as anchor on CBS Evening News, was an election night anchor plus numerous other stuff. To say he is busy is an understatement. Charlie is also 74 years old, actually closer to 75. 

Not only does Mr. Rose work like crazy, he is prepared for every interview. His wealth of knowledge is amazing. Charlie is not just a political or news expert, he is also a fan of the arts, science, technology and numerous other areas. He is one of the most curious people I know. He is also one of the smartest.

The reason I am writing this post is because I had been watching some so called "news" program with four or five talking head experts. They were arguing and disagreeing about something. Let me correct that, they were yelling at each other. Interrupting and talking over each other. Then later I tuned into The Charlie Rose Show on PBS. They were talking about the same issues but no one was yelling. The only time anyone stepped on someone else's line it was due to satellite delay. Charlie orchestrated the discussion in his normal smooth way. Guess which program I learned the most from.

I wish we had more thoughtful and civil discussions in our news coverage. I wish we had intelligent, curious, informed anchors, reporters and "experts" participating. I wish yelling was eliminated. I wish spin was banned. In spite of what Bill O'Reilly says, his No Spin Zone is almost all spin, his spin. 

Charlie is a Southern Gentleman, raised and educated in North Carolina. A graduate of Duke and Duke School of Law. He was never a practicing lawyer but I'm sure his law school training was great preparation for his career as a journalist. 

I'm old enough to remember when news shows including the Sunday morning political shows were civil. I remember when the great David Brinkley would interview a politician, ask probing questions, have a wry smirk after a ridiculous answer and then thank them for being on the program. Never a raised voice or open disdain. Charlie is cut from the same cloth as the David Brinkley's, John Chancellor's, Frank McGee's, Dan Rather's, Tom Brokaw's, etc. of our past moderators and anchors. 

Civil discourse, a dying art and behavior. You won't find much of it on the cable news networks. For a refreshing example of civility, tune into The Charlie Rose Show every night on PBS as people gather around his famous round table. You might learn something.

The world and the country need more real dialogue and less yelling.  


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