CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley gave his fellow journalists a scolding this weekend while accepting an award from Quinnipiac University, urging his colleagues to quit worrying about being “first” to publish a story and to avoid using social networking sites for information, as they are solely “gossip.”
“This has been a bad few months for journalism,” he lamented. “We’re getting the big stories wrong over and over again,” he continued, referring to — among many examples — the media’s initial misidentification of the Newtown shooter’s mother as a school employee.
“Let me take the first arrow,” he said, explaining how he himself made such false reports.
He also placed some blame on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit: “In a world where everybody is a publisher, no one is an editor. And we’ve arrived at the point today.”
Those sites are “not journalism,” he warned. “That’s gossip. Journalism was invented as an antidote to gossip.”
As for news outlets desperate to be first with a big scoop, Pelley cautioned: “If you’re first, no one will ever remember. If you’re wrong, no one will ever forget.” He called such pursuits “vanity,” designed to fulfill “self-conceit … to make ourselves feel better.”
Watch a portion of his remarks below, as clipped by NowThisNews:
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