Veteran network anchor shares thoughts on politics, social media impact

Bob Schieffer in town as part of Trinity University policy maker series


SAN ANTONIO – Veteran CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer was in town Tuesday and shared his thoughts on where the 2016 presidential campaign is headed, and how social media is affecting news. 

Though much has changed in how news and information is spread, Schieffer sticks to traditional ideas of what news is. "I just think journalism is about finding the truth, and I think every news organization has an obligation to do that," he said.

The former host of "Face the Nation" also discussed why there has been such a shift in how the White House manages information. He compared the 16 aides who worked on domestic issues under President Lyndon B. Johnson, a number that has jumped to 400 under President Obama.

Schieffer said he feels that increase is part of the problem. "(They are) dealing with more things than (the White House) has time to deal with," he said. "Some things are better left to be dealt with in the bureaucracy."

He also said each administration learns from the previous one on how to best control what message is delivered to the American people.

Schieffer also said social media can show people on another's similarities.

"I think we do have a lot in common. I think most people have the same basic needs: survival, safety, protecting your family -- things of that nature," he said. "It is new. Like anything new it is taking us a while to figure out how to use it."

The 79-year-old said the presidential candidates are also learning the impact of social media.

"What is happening now with our politics, this is not the fault of social media," he said. "Politicians for their own gain think it is better to try to divide than bring together. Government cannot work without compromise, and 'compromise' has become a dirty word."

He also did not leave any doubt as to what he feels might happen if Donald Trump becomes the Republican presidential candidate. "I am not sure the Republican Party is going to survive this election in its current form."

He said Trump at the top of the ticket could mean a party that is against free trade and one that supports the U.S. becoming more isolationist.

"Even if (Trump) is not (the Republican nominee), if they tear themselves apart at this convention. I am not sure if the so-called 'Tea-Party' and so-called 'traditionalists' can co-exist in the same tent," he said. 

But as many other political veterans have conceded, even Schieffer is not sure of the ultimate impact this campaign season. "Who knows?" he said.

Schieffer was in San Antonio as part of the policy maker breakfast series at Trinity University. The event brings national and international leaders in the fields of business, finance, media, and politics to San Antonio to present their views on current and emerging issues.