The second presidential debate, scheduled for October 15, will be moderated by Steve Scully, the political editor at C-SPAN and host of Washington Journal, who once worked as an intern for Senator Joe Biden in college, later working as a staff assistant in Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s communication office.
“While attending college, he served as an intern in the office of Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden, and later a staff assistant in Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s media affairs office,” Utah Valley University noted.
In an interview with Journalism Jobs in May 2011, when he was asked, “Has the quality of broadcast journalism decreased over the past five years?”, Scully took the opportunity to rip Fox News, stating, “I think what has gone downhill is when cable networks get caught in all the titillating news of the day when they should be focusing more on the things that are important to people, like following the money and the state of the nation. Having said that, if you’re sick and tired of watching Laci Peterson on the Fox News Channel, then you can come on to C-SPAN and understand the process that we do in following it.”
Later in the same interview, he praised Tim Russert, then-host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” saying, “I think Tim Russert — who is paid a lot of money to do what he does — earns his money because he works hard and he understands the process. He’s probably one of the best interviewers out there.” Then he turned to Fox News again, claiming, “We are seeing more opinionated journalism on Fox, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, the whole incident with Dan Rather.”
Asked, “What will be the long-term impact on the credibility of journalists if the public’s perceived bias in reporting goes unchecked?”, Scully said, “Journalism in general will face more credibility blows. The most important thing you have is your reputation. How people view you and the organization you work at — they’re going to see things through the prism of that. It would be a shame if we go down the path where everyone looks at The Washington Post and the New York Times and dismisses them as being supportive or critical of Republicans.”
He added a criticism of CBS News, asserting, “The best thing any news organization can do is to try to maintain a level of credibility — make sure that the facts they put in the newspaper or on the air are accurate and verified. That’s one of the lessons CBS has realized. You could see the mistakes they were making every step of the way. They are going to pay a price for that.”
Scully mentioned former NBC News anchor John Chancellor, saying, “If you have a comment by a news anchor that is truly his opinion — and I personally don’t like that — you need to make sure it is clearly marked and identified. Having a John Chancellor commentary at the end of the newscast — which was still popular in the ’70s — blurs the line.”
Scully is “in charge of the network’s White House coverage. He’s even served on the Executive Board of the White House Correspondents’ Association, where he was the president of the association from 2006 until 2007,” Marie Claire noted.
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