comScore

Scott Pelley: ‘Hostile Foreign Governments’ and ‘Self-Dealing Politicians’ are Poisoning Our Information Landscape

Author and 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley warned Late Show host Stephen Colbert that, in an era awash with news sources of every size and shape, that “the biggest danger to a democracy is poisoning the information.”

Promoting his new book Truth Worth Telling, Pelley appeared on CBS’s Late Show and discussed the complex changes going on in modern journalism.

“We live in a time where never in human history has more information been available to more people. That’s a great thing,” Pelley said. “But never in human history has more bad information been available to more people. That is a big change in our generation, for the next generation, a big change for America. You have to have solid, reliable information for people to make decisions about their families and their country.”

He added: “So much of what we are reading and seeing is a cynical attempt by hostile foreign governments or self-dealing politicians to poison that landscape. What’s the most dangerous thing to a democracy? Is it terrorism? War? Maybe another Great Recession? I don’t, so. I think the biggest danger to a democracy is poisoning the information.”

To that end, Pelley added that “I think [President Donald Trump] is part of the most important story that we’re not saying enough about, and that is the disinformation that has become prevalent throughout our society. …So much of what we are reading and seeing is a cynical attempt by hostile foreign governments or self-dealing politicians to poison that landscape.”

So, how to combat this misinformation, Colbert asked.

“You know, our audiences have a lot to do with it,” Pelley explained. “They have to take responsibility. They have to be skeptical. They have to go to — this sounds a little self-serving, but they have to go to brand names that they can trust. Maybe that’s CBS News. Maybe it’s the Dallas Morning News, or the Chicago Tribune, or ABC News. But what you know when you go to one of those sources is that there are people who have been trained in journalism, being supervised by people who have been doing this for 20, 30, 40 years, and there are enormous consequences for them if they get something wrong. So they’re trying like hell to get it right.”

Watch above, via CBS.

Have a tip we should know? tips@mediaite.com

Filed Under:

Follow Mediaite: