Media

’60 Minutes’ correspondent Scott Pelley rips ‘self-dealing’ politicians

John Paul Filo/CBS

Longtime CBS anchor and “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley on Friday laid part of the blame for the spread of false information at the feet of “self-dealing politicians” who seek to benefit themselves, calling it a danger to democracy.

“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 CBS’ “The Late Show with Steven Colbert” on Friday.

“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.”{mosads}

Pelley, a former anchor of “CBS Evening News” who is promoting his new book “Truth Worth Telling,” pointed to the spread of false information online in recent years.

“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 think so. I think the biggest danger to a democracy is poisoning the information.”

The threat that misinformation poses online was thrust into the spotlight in 2016 after it was revealed that Moscow oversaw a complex campaign on social media platforms to peddle misinformation and sow discord in an attempt to influence in the 2016 presidential election.

Pelley called on audiences to be more analytical about the news they consume and turn to media outlets with long histories of reporting fair and accurate information.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Tags media coverage media criticism scott pelley

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