Jan 31, 2009
Watch the 30th anniversary of “CBS News Sunday Morning”
A CBS News/New York Times poll finds that 6 of every 10 Americans feel people’s lives will be better in the future. Americans appear to have grown more optimistic over the past 30 years; in 1979, only 6 percent of Americans thought the future would be better. The recent poll, conducted as part of the 30th anniversary of “CBS News Sunday Morning,” compared how Americans’ perspectives on key issues have evolved since the broadcast’s debut in 1979. “Sunday Morning” celebrates the milestone this weekend and I am so flattered to be included. I just spent the morning with Rita Braver, whom I first met a few years ago, when she visited me at JWT to discuss trends. (In 2007 she queried me on the rise of coaches: Why were people hiring advisers to hold their hands for everything from executive decision making to paper training puppies to streamlining closets to planting herb gardens?) It was a fascinating conversation (Rita is an incredible interviewer; you can see some of her work on the CBS site), and is being broadcast during a big weekend of nostalgia: the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Macintosh computer; the 43rd annual Super Bowl frenzy, in which Pepsi comes back more relevant than ever, reclaiming its position as the voice of the next generation. My mind keeps wandering backward and forward, between memories of Chiat\Day, of my years living overseas, of friends with whom I lost touch that are suddenly reappearing via Facebook, not to mention the number of 50th birthday invitations that have been appearing in my snail mail box these past few months.
So what else did the CBS News/New York Times poll reveal? What has and hasn’t changed in views about pop culture, social values, politics and technology over the past three decades?
To start, where a 1978 Gallup Poll found that 62 percent of Americans thought homosexual relations between consenting adults were wrong, today a majority of Americans (54 percent) think homosexual relations between adults are not wrong.
When it comes to male-female dynamics, women still think men have more advantages than women, which is similar to their view 30 years ago. However, men’s views on this subject have changed. In 1979, 44 percent thought men had more advantages, while 45 percent thought it didn’t matter. Today, 32 percent of men feel they have an advantage, while 58 percent believe a person’s sex doesn’t matter.
More Americans now rely on television as their primary news source: 60 percent of people today as opposed to 41 percent 30 years ago. And there has been a significant downward trend in people’s reliance on newspapers. Today only 14 percent of Americans rely on them, compared with 41 percent in 1979.
Watch the 30th anniversary broadcast of “Sunday Morning” tomorrow at 9 a.m. ET on CBS. And thanks to Rita, Brian Healy and everyone at CBS for including me. There are a few times in life when something happens that is really flattering, and this is just that kind of honor. It made me feel young, and old, again. I think the young is my obsession with everything new (Twitter) and the old is realizing that 30 years ago, when the show launched, I couldn’t have possibly been watching it: What Brown student would have gotten up before noon after a night of fraternity parties? That was … well … then. Tonight I expect to be in bed by midnight, after a supper with longtime friends. This is now.