CBS 'Face the Nation' Host Bob Schieffer Awarded VFW Media Award

KANSAS CITY, Mo. CBS News Chief Washington correspondent and “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer is the recipient of the 2008 Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Media Award, which honors an individual or organization’s “honest and forthright reporting that contributes to a better understanding of Americanism.” 

Schieffer received the award during the combat veterans organization’s annual community service and legislative conference, held March 3 in Washington, D.C. He now joins the ranks of previous VFW Media Award receipients, including Sarah McClendon, Patrick J. Buchanan, Joseph Lee Galloway Jr., USA Today, Bing West, The McLaughlin Group, William E. Butterworth (W.E.B. Griffin), James Webb and Tim Russert. 

In presenting the award, VFW National Commander George Lisicki cited Schieffer’s “journalistic excellence and outstanding contributions to American society through objective and balanced reporting, news analysis and an untiring pursuit for the truth.”

“America trusts Bob Schieffer and so do I,” said Lisicki. “Bob has held himself to the highest journalistic standards and ethics for more than 40 years. His ability to deliver the facts with accuracy, absolute credibility and clarity, has earned him the admiration and respect of his peers, the public he so well serves and of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.” 

In accepting the award, Schieffer cited it as one of the highest honors in his career because of the VFW’s legacy of calling attention to “our great men and women of the U.S. military forces.”

“That’s why I feel such a sense of thankfulness to your organization [VFW] because you are reminding people everyday about America’s best who are out there making those sacrifices to make sure that we can go on with our way of life,” he said. “For that, you deserve great thanks.”

Schieffer, although in elementary school during World War II, said his memories of the war and the personal sacrifices of every American is what makes this award so memorable to him.

“We didn’t think much about it, he said. “War was a part of everyone’s’ life, and we all had a relative--a father, a brother, a next door neighbor --who was involved in the war.”

Americans today, he said, do not share that level of sacrificing and personal involvement. 

“What concerns me today is here we have the greatest military force ever assembled by any nation in any period of history, yet a lot of people don’t share in the sacrifices,” he said, adding that it’s likely a lot of Americans don’t even know someone in the military because they are not affected by it.

“If I didn't read the newspapers or watch television, then I wouldn't be affected by the war because only one half of one percent of the American population are making all the sacrifices in this international war on terrorism,” the Broadcasting/Cable Hall of Fame member said.

A former Air Force public affairs officer, Schieffer joined the ROTC to become an Air Force pilot, however, those hopes were dashed when the native Texan, who was a member of Texas Christian University Horned Frogs baseball team, was hit in the eye by a wild pitch during a game.

“That ended any chance of passing the flight physical,” Schieffer said,” but I did spend three years flying what we used to call the LSD: a ‘large steel desk.’”

The TCU alum and former Fort Worth Star Telegram beat reporter called his military experience one of the greatest periods in his life because he learned more in those three years than any other three years of his life. 

Schieffer, who is donating his $5,000 honorarium to the Walter Reed Society and to the Yellow Ribbon Fund nonprofit organizations, ended his acceptance remarks by encouraging the 1,200 VFW and its Ladies Auxiliary members in attendance to continue reminding Americans about “America’s best” who are out there making those sacrifices to ensure that “we can go on with our way of life.”