Old men reading the news

old men yelling

CBS is the network of the elderly, especially on Sunday mornings. All of the correspondents on “CBS Sunday Morning” speak slowly and carefully, so we old codgers can understand them as we gradually awaken. The host of the show is the charming (but elderly) Charles Osgood, who’s eighty years old as of this moment.

And the show is followed by CBS’s “Face the Nation,” hosted by Bob Schieffer, who’s a comparatively youthful seventy-six years old.

One Sunday morning last spring, Schieffer opened the show with something like this: “Flooding! Snow in the Northeast! What’s with the weather?”

It’s a perfectly valid question, with a plethora of answers, all of them interesting. But it was his tone – his shrill old-man querulous tone – that made it almost funny. He seemed to be saying: What’s this? And why haven’t we heard about this before?


Well, we’ve heard about it approximately a thousand times. I first heard about it in the 1970s in high school, when the first Earth Day was celebrated. I even spent a few pennies then to buy an Earth Day decal, the money for which was supposed to go to some good ecological cause.

But here we are. The atmospheric CO2 level has gone to 400 parts per million, the highest level in three million years. This will have definite consequences on the climate.

And yet Bob Schieffer, who’s possible more than three million years old, wants to know what’s going on!

I’m on the verge of being an old man myself. But even I know more than Bob Schieffer seems to know.

The climate is changing.

Grab your hats and head for the exits, ladies and gentlemen. The future isn’t going to be very nice.

I’m only sorry that the old men on the Sunday-morning television programs aren’t preparing you for this.

The death of Mike Wallace


Mike Wallace died this past weekend.  Andy Rooney (of the unruly eyebrows) died last November.



The old CBS brigade is beginning to fade away.



A few of the ancients are still alive.  Charles Osgood (age 79) still anchors “CBS Sunday Morning.”  Morley Safer (age 80) is still around, I think.  Bob Schieffer  (age 75) still hosts “Face the Nation,” also on Sunday mornings; he’s wonderful, but he seems to be getting a big weaker over the past few years.  The wonderful Bill Geist (a mere baby at age 66) is still going strong. 



But still!



CBS – journalistically, anyway – is an octogenarian’s network.  Look at the list above!  They’re old!  There are a few younger correspondents – the lamentable Steve Hartman, for example, with his mournful insincere face – but they’re the exception.  (And Steve Hartman, let’s face it, is just a feeble Charles Kuralt wannabe.)



Listen, don’t get me wrong.  I don’t mind old.  I’m getting there myself.  I’m fifty-four going on fifty-five, with sciatica and kidney stones.  I understand the demographic, and the concerns.



But even I become impatient with CBS’s news division when they explain the “Internet” to me as if it’s a strange new concept, or “Whole Foods,” or “Cyndi Lauper.”



I’ve said before that CBS is the geezer network.



I thought I was exaggerating.



I was wrong.


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