Just Between Us and Connie

January 06, 1995

The Sun: Good morning, Miss Chung. Thanks so much for agreeing to have a little chat with us about journalism ethics. We want to get your views on the way these so-called television newsmagazine shows are blurring the line between entertainment and good, solid reporting. Do you agree with Marvin Kalb, one of the most respected correspondents in CBS history, that programs such as yours practice standards of JTC journalism that, generally speaking, are "low and getting lower?"

Connie Chung: Well, it's certainly nice to have this chance to liven up The Sun's editorial page. You people need to entertain more and inform less. You need to be less concerned with facts or opinion and more concerned about what grabs your readers' attention. Now in a format like this, you can't really expect me to trash my own program, "Eye to Eye," by responding to Marvin, who is a nice fellow even if he is on the Harvard faculty. We have a proud tradition at CBS as to what constitutes highly ethical journalism, and that's all I would want to say on the record.

The Sun: Why don't you tell us what you really think of some of the capers these so-called TV newsmagazines pull off on the pretense they are committing journalism?

Connie Chung: What!!! You think I am some naive old lady like Newt Gingrich's mother, who tells us with the cameras running that Newt had called Hillary Clinton "a bitch" after I urged her to "just whisper it to me." Then Newt had the nerve to say that was "despicable" of us. My boss, CBS News President Eric Ober, had it right when he said Mrs. Gingrich had "volunteered an unsolicited view." You think I don't know that if you ask something of me you won't print it on your page?

The Sun: Why don't you just whisper it to us, just between you and us?

Connie Chung: Well, in that case I'd probably have to fess up that when I conned Mother Gingrich into telling me her little secret, I was doing just what Marvin said I was doing. Lowering already low standards. But, of course, under the ground rules you wouldn't print any of that.

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