Pearls of wisdom from Bob Schieffer were the highlight of the CBS News TCA sesh Friday morning, done via satellite from Gotham with CBS News and Sports boss Sean McManus, anchor Katie Couric, politico correspondent Jeff Greenfield and the heart and soul of the Eye's news operation, Schieffer.
When asked the tired question about "The Daily Show" and its influence on mainstream broadcast news programs, Schieffer didn't skip a beat before declaring: "I'd like to go right on record: Jon Stewart is my inspiration."
Big laugh. And then Schieffer, sporting a jaunty purple-plaid tie, followed through with a really smart observation likening Stewart and Stephen Colbert to "editorial cartoonists."
There's a place for them, and the genial Schieffer said he thinks both Stewart and Colbert are "terrific," but "you don't get all the news you need to know if you only look at the editorial page cartoon everyday."
Can't argue with his logic, or his disarmingly charming, folksy delivery.
Of course, the unstated purpose of the panel was to give Couric and McManus the chance to look scribes in the eye, via satellite, and tell them that all the huffing and puffing of her plotting her exit after the election was wildly overheated.
"That is not true," the unflappable McManus said when the question was inevitably asked.
"I can echo that," Couric said (their prep for the panel was pretty obvious but you can't blame them). "We have no plans to part company any time soon."
She added that the flurry of speculative stories about her impending departure was "spun out of control...I'm very committed to the people (at CBS News) and very committed to the product."
Schieffer had Couric's back. "This is a very good newscast," he said with the authority of a guy who's covered a lot of news in his time. "I'm proud to be a part of it."
Comparing the three network newscasts, Schieffer said "most days we measure up" just fine, but like a good reporter he added a dose of balance: "Some days you get the bear, and some days the bear gets you."