The TV news gods gave "CBS Evening News" anchor Scott Pelley and his bosses a real test on Pelley's first day at the anchor desk Monday. They handed them in Anthony Weiner's surreal press conference an off-the-wall, sex-lies-and-Twitpics bombshell that would measure just how committed they were to trying to offer a balanced, contextualized, representative snapshot of the day's events.

To the credit of the "CBS Evening News" and Pelley, the managing editor, they came through with flying colors. They gave us more than enough of the sorry spectacle of Weiner admitting his creepy online and social media relationships with women young enough to be his daughters. They included the press conference with the congressman's pitiful confession of mediated sexual relationships -- and his acknowledgment of all the lies he has told in the last week. And they gave us a nice backgrounder to boot for context on other recent congressmen who have gone off the rails on sex.

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But they waited almost 12 minutes before getting to those stories, because they wanted to first explore the news of five soldiers dying in Iraq. Good for Pelley and CBS News and their sense of what's important.

Yes, the Weiner press conference is a great story in the bizarre-what-will-happen-next-in our-screwed-up-cultural-milieu-of-American-life today. I revel in it. But we need adults in the news business more than ever in these topsy-turvy times to offer a sense of what's important and what's more important -- and five Americans dying in Iraq is more important than Weiner's inability to behave honestly and honorably as a member of Congress.

Even though the media landscape is dominated by run and gun quasi-journalism, I have made it a practice not to review important, ongoing productions like Pelley's after only one broadcast except in unusual circumstances. It is simply not fair to judge it on such a narrow and skewed sample. So, I will hold off on a full review here.

But I am truly encouraged by what I saw on the first telecast especially in terms of a newscast that seems to know what it is about and doesn't crazily chase the last breaking story that looks to have some sizzle. Its sense of seriousness and purpose stands in direct contrast to Katie Couric's first night behind Walter Cronkite's one-time desk.

To all the folks who have written me in recent years saying how much they yearn for a solid, fact-based half-hour network newscast that they can trust to give them reliable information about their world, I think the "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley" might be the one for you.

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