Bob Schieffer, Journalist With Ulcerative Colitis

This Award-Winning Journalist Has A Long, Distinguished Career

Bob Schieffer
Bob Schieffer speaks at the American News Women's Club 2013 Gala Awards. Image © Paul Morigi / Getty Images Entertainment

Bob Schieffer has had a long and storied career as a journalist. However, what is not known by most of his followers and his readers is that he has been living with ulcerative colitis since 1974. Schieffer acknowledges that inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a difficult disease to talk about, and most people avoid doing so, which is why he feels it is important for people with IBD to raise awareness.

Becoming A Part Of A Major Story

Schieffer's career had an historic beginning—he was the person who drove Marguerite Oswald, Lee Harvey Oswald's mother, to the police station. Schieffer was a junior reporter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas. It just so happened that Schieffer was still in the office, and answered the phone when Marguerite called and identified herself as the mother of the shooter. She was looking for someone to bring her to the Dallas police station, and Schieffer, smelling a good story, immediately drove to her home to pick her up.

He sat with her in the chaotic station, where no one questioned him because he purposefully wore a snap-brim hat similar to those favored by the detectives of the time. Schieffer was often on the crime beat, and because he already knew the ins and outs of the police station, he didn't appear out of place. He reported on the story of the shooting of President Kennedy to his paper from inside the Dallas police station for as long as he could. However, he was finally discovered and asked to leave. Schieffer filed so many reports from his fellow reporters that day that the Star-Telegram was able to put out extra editions.

Career In TV And As An Author

That footnote to the major events in Dallas led Schieffer to a career in television, first at a local Fort Worth station and then moving on to CBS news, where he has been since 1969. He first anchored CBS Sunday Night News and then the CBS Evening News. Later he became the CBS News Chief Washington correspondent and the moderator of Face The Nation. Schieffer has also written four books: Acting President, This Just In, What I Couldn't Tell You On TV, Face The Nation, and Bob Schieffer's America. He's won an astounding number of awards in his career, including 7 Emmys.

IBD Comes With Responsibility

Schieffer was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 1974. In 2001 he was diagnosed with diabetes, and in 2003 he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Today he is cancer-free, and he acknowledges that if he'd waited any longer to get his symptoms assessed by a physician, the cancer would have progressed rapidly. He feels a duty to talk about his "below-the-belt" conditions, and encourage others—and especially men—to seek preventive medical care. He has also been outspoken about his own addiction to chewing tobacco at a young age (a habit he's now broken), and expressed gratitude to CVS Pharmacies for its policy of phasing out tobacco products in their stores.

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