Beverly Hills, Calif. —Days after his spectacle during the Republican debate, the country should move on from Donald Trump, said Face the Nation anchor and political director for CBS News John Dickerson during the TCA summer press tour Monday.
Referring to the ongoing discussion of Trump’s controversial comments directed at Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly during last week’s presidential debate, Dickerson acknowledged the challenge of covering the Trump story and balancing what is sensational versus real news.
Nevertheless, he couldn’t deny the public intrigue and interest in the real estate mogul turned Republican presidential candidate. “The phenomenon of Trump is outside Trump,” he said.
Dickerson was joined on stage by CBS News president David Rhodes, who outlined the network’s plans for covering the 2016 election, which includes the previously announced primary debates.
The 90-minute Democratic debate is slated for Nov. 14 with the Republican counterpart scheduled for Feb. 13. Dickerson will serve as principal moderator for each of the two-hour broadcasts.
“These primary debates are important, big exclusive news franchises coming at critical times in the nominating process,” Rhodes said.
As far as convention coverage, Rhodes said there will be a different investment in manpower. Viewers will see less anchoring from “air-conditioned sky boxes,” and more on-the-ground reporting.
He also touted the divisions’ growth: This Morning has its largest audience in 20 years and Scott Pelley’s Evening News is seeing its best audience in 10 years, according to Rhodes.
When asked about how the network contrasts with Fox News, which has been characterized as a voice for the Republican Party, Rhodes stressed that the CBS News brand stands out as an organization who has the capability of presenting varying viewpoints.
The CBS News chief shied away from directly addressing Brian Williams’ suspension last February, but did express his empathy for NBC’s situation.
“I don’t envy them,” he said. “People’s trust is hard to gain and easy to lose so it requires some constant vigilance. Mistakes happen and how you deal with them is a lot a part of these jobs.”