This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Non-Profit Organizations.  

Corporate Responsibility | CATOCorporate Responsibility goes by many terms: Corporate social responsibility, corporate citizenship, responsible business, corporate social performance, etc. In their eagerness to be better corporate citizens and get and keep customers, corporate responsibility is a trend that many companies are taking more seriously.  It is basically what a company will do beyond what they must do to satisfy a customer.

And it is looking at more than maximizing shareholder value and leveraging the maximum ‘good” to sustain the company for a future generation of shareholders.

Joining us are Guests:

Ed Ahnert comments: “You won’t find many maximizing shareholder value or making a lot of money on many corporate mission statements. Corporate responsibility is about creating value for all the stakeholders; from employees to the community it impacts.”

The model Paul Pederson shares outlines the various facets of what Corporate Responsibility involves. It includes, yet is not limited to:

  • Corporate Sustainability
  • Sustainable Development
  • Transparency
  • Triple Bottom Line
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Business Ethics
  • Corporate Governance
  • Corporate Citizenship
  • Corporate Responsibility

He comments: “Corporate Responsibility is an expansion for not just their own- the company’s activities- but the people they buy products from. They want to make sure their own vendors are not violating the law or hurting the reputation of the company. Corporations are more concerned and involved.”

A dissenting voice is heard from Fred Smith, who believes we need to be aware of price and the quality of what our vendors deliver and that they are not operating illegally, but that we cannot and should not “impose our standards and crippling regulations on other countries we trade with. We have no legal responsibility to do so.”

The lively debate continues with viewpoints on many sides of the equation. The outcome: Corporate social responsibility is fast becoming a fact of the American way of doing business.

As always, thank you for joining us, as we talk about things that matter with people who care…

Niki Nicastro McCuistion
Executive producer/ producer



Internet connectionDuring this installment of McCuistion Television’s episode on the Internet Privacy Condition, Dennis McCuistion is joined by two panelists:

Internet privacy is a thing of the past. By Googling  someone or something and by going into cached sites, you can pull  back the covers on things that quite possibly the individual may have wanted to keep private. As Dee Smith says, “It’s an early warning sign. There’s an enormous array of credit card information and magazine subscriptions that all have a collected pattern. Privacy is threatened, yet there is a lot of information to help protect you against fraud.”

Jim Harper of CATO says of the Internet privacy condition, “What is privacy? Medical privacy and other is out there. The average person may not find this, but there is a lack of practical obscurity. Records exist. So from Government surveillance to marketing research and identity theft, a Google search can turn up lots of pieces and places. Not one place is definitive and complete. Still, ultimately, the result is a better economy.”

Today there is a new human condition. The Web makes it very hard to escape your past. Data that is out there is difficult to impossible to retrieve. This information is going to be with you for a very long time. Knowledge is critical and needs to be managed. What one puts out on MySpace today can come back to haunt one and even result in the loss of a potential job. The knowledge intelligence pyramid, talked about by Dee Smith is a critical component of out future personal and marketing strategy.

From top to bottom the Knowledge Intelligence Pyramid, gives data that is critical to know and work with:

Specific and focused information
Specific but broad information
Background information.

Knowledge today is indeed power. And the more you know about a prospect or other individual, the more effective you can be.

Thank you for watching this segment on the Internet privacy condition,

Niki McCuistion


1518 – 07.19.09

Jim LehrerWhen Jim Lehrer, Executive Editor and PBS’ NewsHour Anchor, visited KERA sometime back, we were lucky to catch him for a full hour of intimate conversation, televised of course.  Jim shared some of his local story and how he got his start at the studio where it all started… KERA.

This is part two of an intimate conversation with PBS’ NewsHour Anchor, Jim Lehrer…

Dennis McCuistion had the pleasure of interviewing Jim Lehrer. Curious about the PBS NewsHour Anchor’s viewpoint, he asked, “a viewer, seeing all sides of a well-spoken, well thought out perspective, can they then make up their own minds on an issue, if we give them those perspectives?”

In his thoughtful way, Jim responded:

“Absolutely, absolutely right. They don’t need any help from me to tell them what to think, but they do need help from me to provide them with many points of view in a very clean way. And fairness, fairness to ideas as much as to people. On our program someone will come in and say to me, ‘the person who knows the most on this subject is this person and on the other side this person. This person is not as articulate as this person; so it would be unfair to put this person on with this person, they’d mop up the floor with him or her.’

‘So we find a better spokesperson’, Jim says. Now that may sound as if we’re casting a movie. We’re in the fairness to ideas business. That means everything to me. We want people to say; now I understand; now I can decide.”

Dennis went on to enquire about Jim Lehrer’s interviews with many of the most powerful people on earth. He mentioned an interview Jim had with a recent US President who had lied in that interview regarding a major controversy that had erupted. He asked Jim, with situations like that, how did he keep from being a cynic?  Jim believes journalism is an optimistic line of work. He states, “you have to believe in peace if you’re going to moderate a discussion on peace. We as people are capable of solving every problem.” He quips, “I personally solved the Middle East issue at least 40 times.” His style – “I ask and I listen and I can’t judge.”

Dennis asks, “Did you know President Clinton was lying?” Jim says no and goes on to tell us that there had been no leaks; there was no reason to believe differently. “There was no reason, no record, no way to challenge, and I asked the same question seven different ways. He looked me straight in the eye.” The conversation covered the differences in journalism today, which has moved from substance of issues to titillating.

“Dan Rather spoke of this in the segment before,” says Lehrer. “There was a watershed moment during the OJ Simpson trial when CNN went gavel to gavel and said to the American people, ‘this is news- every day, this is news.’ It wasn’t news under the old definitions. Yes, it was news when the murders occurred, yes, it was news… the white Bronco, yes, it was news when the arrest took place, and he was indicted, and Fuhrman, then not news at all until the verdict came in.” He goes on to say, how the huge audience watching affected other news programs and the nightly news as the networks had to compete. Yet a lot of people said, ‘this is not news,’ and they tuned out. ‘THEY’ (CNN) redefined what news was, using entertainment value.”

Several years before this interview, Dennis and I had interviewed several journalists, household names, in Dallas for a charitable event. He (Dennis) had asked if there was bias in the Media, meaning liberal bias.  He brought up Bernard Goldberg’s work, Bias, and Goldberg’s accusation of liberal bias in the media. Addressing this, Jim Lehrer answered, “Bias in the media? What is this media? Sounds like a dreaded disease.” He reminded us that there is not just one media; there are scores of those scorpions out there. On PBS’ NewsHour he said, “we don’t do that, do not include me in that group.” The reporters joining us that evening at the event were equally outspoken, Jim himself was very clear, “Like all generalities, a little of this, a little of that. That doesn’t exist on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and that’s what concerns me the most.”

Bob Schieffer had replied, “There’s not a liberal bias. Bias is perceived. When people think something is biased they don’t believe it. What we have to do is strive to be credible… That’s the responsibility of a journalist, to try to be fair.”

Dan Rather responded, “I understand why that is said by politicians and others with an agenda. My work stands for itself. I think the public is pretty sophisticated about these charges. They don’t want to know what someone calls you. They want to know what you said on the air.”

Sam Donaldson spoke to this, “I don’t think media is liberal or conservative. George Wills, who’s liberal or conservative, he or I? I don’t buy the premise that media is liberal so we try to advance our causes over conservative causes. It is true that we think our job is to have people explain themselves and tell us what they are going to do tomorrow. We scratch at both parties just as hard.”

And a classic response from Bill Moyers, “Rush Limbaugh is liberal? The Washington Times is liberal? Bill Buckley (was) liberal? McLaughlin is liberal? Donaldson is liberal? I mean come on now, that’s one of  the myths that the right wing is perpetrating to keep your eye off what they’re  really doing.”

Coming back to the present time, on this program Jim Lehrer continues telling us his philosophy for news and its mandate to be fair. He states that everyone should be heard and that it’s not his place to say who is right and who is wrong. Jim addressed the function of the news and the journalist’s responsibility. “My job on NewsHour doesn’t evoke natural smiles. If you’re talking about a situation in the Middle East, what’s funny about that?” He leaves us with his comments about his writing, now nineteen novels and several plays, and his work. The busy PBS NewsHour Anchor finds time for all he does, “The reason I really want to do this nightly news, I love what I do with my whole heart and soul. I’m fortunate to do what I really want to do. I devote time to do what I really want to do… rather than what someone else wants me to do.”

Thank you Jim Lehrer, for a thoughtful and intimate inside look.  Join us for more. And as always, thank you for watching.

Niki Nicastro McCuistion…  Producer


1522 – 07.12.09

Jim LehrerWhen Jim Lehrer, Executive Editor and PBS’ NewsHour Anchor, visited KERA sometime back, we were lucky to catch him for a full hour of intimate conversation, televised of course.  Jim Lehrer shared some of his local story and how he got his start as PBS’ NewsHour Anchor at the studio where it all started… KERA.

Born in Wichita, Kansas in 1934, Jim received his A.A. from Victoria College, and a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri, before joining the Marine Corps. In 1959, he joined the Dallas Morning News as a reporter, where he stayed until 1966. He tells us he wrote a story about the civil defense organization, that the Dallas Morning News wouldn’t run. So without having another job to go to, a young one at home and one on the way, he walked out. “The real hero of the story is Katie, my wife. She said, Honey, you just come on home.” He landed at the Dallas Times Herald where he stayed for several years and in 1968 became the city editor.

Then in 1970, came KERA… Bob Wilson, then manager of news and public affairs had this idea for nightly news, and experimental program,

“We didn’t know what we were doing. We started PBS’ NewsHour with the Beatles’, ‘Here Comes the Sun,’ and ended with ‘Oh Happy Day’ as our theme songs. Our thinking, with ‘Here Comes the Sun’ is we’d shed light on the deep dark secrets of Dallas. We did news analysis and opinion on local news. We were diverse before anyone else was, and had Afro-American, a Mexican, and a woman as reporters! Plus an environmental reporter! And we became a factor in Dallas journalism. The Editors quit sitting on stories, all little games they’d played for years, because their reporters would send them over to us. All bets were off. It made it possible for Editors to say, ‘Hey we’ve got to run this story because the kooks at Channel 13 will run it.’”

Jim believes that true journalism provides a forum of all the public news. It provides information for people who want it. “Its role in a democratic society is to provide information to the people so they can make informed decisions, when they vote… We are information gatherers and dispensers.”

In part one of this segment we show clips of an earlier program we produced, Is There Bias in the Media that featured interviews with Jim Lehrer, Bob Schieffer, Dan Rather and Bill Moyers. Dennis McCuistion asked:

What is the most important responsibility of the journalist?

Bob Schieffer answered: To find out the truth. To provide a forum that makes it possible to examine all public issues… To provide information.

Dan Rather: To be accurate and to be fair. The competition right now is unmerciful. It’s tough to survive in difficult times and we have to be accurate.

Bill Moyers: To connect the dots from A to B to C. on what’s on the surface and under the surface.

Jim Lehrer tells us:

“In journalism we go where people can’t go on their own so we can report back to people. … There’s a slippery slope going on, especially in commercial news networks. The competition is so fierce… there’s a ‘we have to have an edge, we have to have an edge.’ Down that road is loss of credibility. The news- is to give information, provide analysis and provide opinion. And the same person cannot do all three. We have to remember what Thomas Jefferson said, ‘If democratic society is going to function you have to have an informed electorate.’ That’s what journalism was created to do, inform the electorate. Simple”

Dennis asks if we are losing an informed electorate. And he asks if he, Lehrer, has been pressured by PBS to dumb down content?

“No, No, No,” answers Lehrer. The program goes on to discuss the ethics of journalism and Neil Postman’s work, Amusing Ourselves to Death, whose premise that we’ve lost putting issues in context, and that because of television we have taken issues and tried to put them into sound bites. So we are amusing ourselves to death. Says Lehrer, “if you have to be entertained, go to the circus. We’re not here to entertain.”

Jim Lehrer has been honored with numerous awards for journalism, including the 1999 National Humanities Medal. He and McNeill were inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, and into the Washington D.C. chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts and Science. He has won two Emmys and a Fred Friendly First Amendment Award, among others. Mr. Lehrer has served as a moderator for eleven of the nationally televised debates in the last six Presidential elections. He comments, “it is the most difficult, scary, satisfying and exhilarating honor. It’s not a TV show. This is about who’s going to be the next President of the United States and I do not want any voter, any American to say so and so was treated unfairly by Jim Lehrer. It’s not the function of journalism to do a Presidential debate. My job is that of facilitator.”

Tune in… for the rest of the story in this two part series with PBS’ NewsHour Anchor, Jim Lehrer.

Thank you for watching.

Niki Nicastro McCuistion…  Producer


1511 – 07.05.09