Saying that he was nervous about speaking at a college that "I couldn't have gotten into," author, columnist, and television commentator Andy Rooney discussed his views of the ills of America at the Law School Forum last night.
Speaking before a crowd of several hundred, Rooney, who is best known for his whimsical commentaries about everyday life on "60 Minutes," said, "What bothers me most as a journalist is the great American preference for not facing the truth."
Rooney singled out big business as one of the prime practitioners of this self-deception. Business always claims to hate big government, he said, yet it is "closer to big government than big government is to the people."
"If Chrysler hates big government, I'd like my billion dollars back," he added.
America has also "gone overboard with packaging," Rooney said, citing the large role of advertising in every facet of life, and the commensurate drop in quality. "People are setting out to make money instead of setting out to make something," he said.
In response to a question about the honesty of "60 Minutes," Rooney said that he was "intensely proud" of network T.V. journalism. "Network news is good for the simple reason that it knows where its next $10 million is coming from," he said, adding that he thought the networks could schedule more news programming.
The networks may now be moving in this direction because of the success of "60 Minutes," but Rooney called this a "mixed blessing," saying, "I hope that they never discover that they can make money off of news, or we're in trouble."