CBS News’ Margaret Brennan Offers Perspective on Politics in America


Margaret Brennan, CBS News Face the Nation moderator and chief foreign affairs correspondent, discussed the political atmosphere in the U.S. and her perspective on journalistic integrity at APTA’s 2024 Legislative Conference, in a session sponsored by APTA’s Business Member Activity Fund.

The job of journalist, she explained, is “essential to democracy because I believe that an informed electorate is the only way that a democracy can fully function. You have to actually know and understand to fully participate in it.”

She noted that her industry is “going through some massive changes in terms of finding an audience, how we find viewers, how we understand how you process information because you have these screens in your pockets. You can type in any question and seemingly get an answer. It’s not always an accurate one, but it’s become commoditized information.” That is why she believes that curated information from trustworthy journalists is essential, particularly in the high-anxiety world of today.

Brennan described how “there is so much geopolitical uncertainty about the things we can’t quite predict that are looming.” Think about the inbox for the commander in chief, she suggested, “these are incredibly serious issues. I have spoken to I don’t know how many former and current U.S. officials who say they are concerned that we are on the verge of a World War III type scenario, that they are concerned that the public doesn’t fully understand the seriousness of the problem of having a rising China working with an aggressive Russia at a time when the Middle East and even our closest of allies are so dysfunctional.”

To the audience, she said: “the unknown is really difficult. How do you make budgets? How do you plan ahead, particularly when you have a Congress like we have now?” She stressed the if Americans don’t get invested in what is going on in their country, unless they show up at the ballot box, and unless they express concerns to their representatives, things won’t get better.

Brennan urged attendees who have children to ensure they are teaching them to think for themselves, to challenge them on how they got to a specific assumption. “Critical analysis is something I am concerned is not going to be there as much in the younger generations, who find in their pocket a screen that can tell them anything in two seconds without going and checking primary sources and doing the work that journalists need to do.”

Buddy Coleman, chief customer officer, Clever Devices, Ltd., and chair, APTA Business Member Board of Governors, moderated the session.