Common Sense

Out With the Old?

I know this is sacrilege to say in my business, but I think we're all a little too obsessed with catering to younger viewers.

I have no problem with younger viewers — I have some young children myself. But I think they have it right in Asia, where they worship their elderly.

Which brings me to Dan Rather. Please stay with me. I have a point.

Starting Thursday, his interim replacement at CBS is Bob Schieffer. Bob is 68 years old. So, I guess that's why he's interim. But why?

Look, on this, I'm biased. I love Bob Schieffer. I think he's an incredible journalist and among the best interviewers in the business. He's tough on everyone, fair with everyone and, by the way, a "nut" with no one! That last one should be especially important to his bosses right now!

So why make him interim? Because he happens to be 68 years old?

In China, they're just grooming you for high office at that age. Colonel Sanders had just "started" his chicken empire at that age. And Ronald Reagan did a pretty good job leading the country when he was years older than that age.

Age, to me, builds stature and trust. I think Schieffer's got both — which, also by the way, CBS could use right now.

I just feel this youth obsession in this country ignores the fact that we're all getting older and living longer. And to dismiss the graying crowd, we risk losing that crowd. Older people generally have more money. So they can buy more things. That seems like a pretty good demographic group to me.

One of the cruelest things we do in this society is forget the folks who helped make our society. Why ignore the people who truly have been there, done that?

I say, enough of that.

Look, I don't know how Bob Schieffer will do for Dan — although I bet he'll do better. I do know is that at 68, he's old enough to learn from an organization's mistakes and young enough to try.

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