Maurice Alberto (Mo) Rocca is an American writer, comedian, and political satirist, is known for his off-beat news reports, satirical commentary, and as a former correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1998-2003). Originally from Washington, DC, Rocca graduated from Harvard University in 1991 with a B.A. in literature. He served as president of Harvard's Hasty Pudding Theatricals, performing in four of the company's notorious burlesques and even co-authoring one (Suede Expectations). Later, he worked as a writer and producer for the children's television series Wishbone (1995), The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss (1996) and Pepper Ann (1997), and also as a consulting editor to the men's magazine Perfect 10. Rocca is a regular panelist on NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! and a regular contributor to CBS' Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. He is a regular correspondent for NBC's Tonight Show, most recently providing 2008 election coverage, as well as for MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann. He was a celebrity commentator on VH1's Best week ever, as well as the I Love The... shows. He was the host of Things I Hate About You on Bravo. Rocca was an on-the-floor correspondent for Larry King on CNN at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, which he called an "Obamarama." He returned as a correspondent for the 2004 Republican National Convention.
Question: What advice do you have for people like Rupert Murdoch or Katie Couric?
Mo Rocca:That’s interesting, but those are all very different people. I think a half hour newscast, which is sort of a dinosaur . . . I think at this point they’re really doing the best that they can. And I don’t watch those shows a lot, but you know when I look at the evening news – the half hour – I actually think they’re sort of doing the best they can under the circumstances. I think that the cable news nets are just such a flawed . . . They’re money making . . . The cable news nets are money making machines certainly; but you know the need to fill all that time makes them . . . makes them flawed. I think that . . . They need . . . The need to keep people there as long as possible, I don’t know. I guess . . . I guess it’s . . . I guess it’s I long . . . Maybe this is . . . Maybe I’m just romanticizing here, but I guess I long for the time when news was just simply a loss leader for these networks. And they accepted that, and they made editorial decisions about . . . based on what they thought the public needed to know. And then the public could then say, like they do with magazines and with cable news networks, “You know what? This network is too liberal for me. This network is too conservative.”
Recorded on: 2/14/08