“If we wanted a more stark demonstration of the differences in these shows, I think this morning is a perfect example,” Rhodes tells TVNewser. “We have done more Syria on this morning show than anyone,” says Rhodes. “And we’ve been rewarded for it by viewers.”
That “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Charlie Rose got the interview should not come as a surprise. He’d interviewed Assad before, and has been working for months to secure this interview as the Syrian civil war intensified. “He’s had a track record on this story for a long time,” says Rhodes. The entirety of the interview will air tonight on Rose’s PBS program.
Rhodes’ boss, CBS News chairman and “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager put on another hat this weekend: as Rose’s producer. “When you have a situation like this, you don’t know what you’re going to find when you get there,” says Rhodes. “There’s no substitute to having people there with the experience and confidence to confront that. That Jeff was able to go, is great”
Rose and Fager spent Saturday night in Damascus, before heading to the presidential palace Sunday morning. Hours later Rose was in Lebanon phoning into CBS’s Bob Schieffer breaking the news of his interview. That’s also around the time the White House first learned about it.
Which means it came as news to Rhodes’ younger brother, Ben Rhodes, who is the White House Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication.