Skip to comments.Civil war at '60 Minutes'
Posted on 09/22/2004 6:25:13 AM PDT by presidio9
A war of words has erupted within the halls of "60 Minutes" following Dan Rather's admission that CBS News aired a report on President Bush using questionable documents. On one side of the battle is Steve Kroft, a veteran correspondent on the Sunday edition of "60 Minutes." On the other is Don Hewitt, founder of the pioneering newsmagazine.
Kroft argues it's unlikely the Sunday show would have made the mistake of using the documents that bolstered Rather's report - which aired on the Wednesday telecast, formerly known as "60 Minutes II."
So much so, Kroft and staffers on the Sunday telecast want it to be clear - they weren't the ones that were duped.
"We're all afraid of that, that's our biggest concern," Kroft told the Daily News. "We've held off from saying it, we've held off from making any comments as long as there was some hope the documents would prove to be real.
"Now, I think it's our responsibility to try to draw a distinction between the two broadcasts," Kroft said, admitting that the original show had been burned in the past and had learned from its mistakes. "They've done a lot of great work over there ... particularly with the Abu Ghraib story, they didn't rush that story on the air. This one, for whatever reason, they did."
Kroft said he was surprised when "60 Minutes II" dropped the "II" in its name, but noted yesterday that in CBS' statements regarding the mistake, the show had become "60 Minutes Wednesday."
The second edition of "60 Minutes" was a contentious project from the start. Hewitt, the creator of "60 Minutes," fought against expanding the franchise but was overruled. The second show launched Jan. 13, 1999.
"I think they've acquitted themselves nicely," said Hewitt, who was forced out as executive producer last season. "When I objected to there being a second show, I didn't know how good it was going to be."
He scolded his old crew yesterday for sniping at their beleaguered colleagues.
"Now, when the other one is in trouble, they're piling on. It's unfair, uncalled for and not the way that grown men should act," Hewitt said.
Kroft is not alone in questioning what led to Rather's having to admit the show made a mistake.
"There's anger in the rank and file that this could have happened," said a CBS News source.
Rather told The News Monday he was appreciative of those who have expressed support.
"And for those who haven't been, including those who haven't been and thought they needed to anonymously take their shots, I say, I understand," he said.
Meanwhile, attempts to trace the origins of the fraudulent paperwork have foundered on attacks from Democrats and Republicans suggesting that their political opponents concocted them.
USA Today, which also received the papers from anti-Bush activist Bill Burkett, reported yesterday that Burkett told them he was offered the documents from a woman who identified herself on the phone as Lucy Ramirez.
But when he rendezvoused with Ramirez, an unidentified man showed up instead and dropped them off.
USA Today said it has been unable to trace Ramirez.
New Yorkers go easy on Dan
New Yorkers were generally forgiving of Dan Rather's running a story based on unproven documents that attacked President Bush.
"Rather made a mistake and he was man enough to admit it." - Kaiseem Felder, 49, Xerox technician, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
"All I could think of was this is what he will be remembered for after such a successful career. But mistakes happen all the time in the news." - Jane Marie Giustra, 24, sales assistant, Hoboken, N.J.
"Everything they said about Bush is true; they just haven't found the evidence yet." - Dale Channer, 34, florist, the Bronx.
"He screwed up and ought to be held accountable. He should not be fired but he should apologize formally to the President." - Jim Oldham, 42, salesclerk, Weehawken, N.J.
"I feel bad for Dan Rather because he is such a respected person. CBS should take more time to research and look at who was giving them the information." - Nichole Anderson, 34, event planner, North Brunswick, N.J.
"He should have gotten the facts right, but it's not uncommon what he did." - Eddie Tallarine, 37, electrician, Massapequa, L.I.
"CBS should have checked the information before they came out with it, but the reputation of CBS is good. ... It was one mistake." - Fernando Monte, 30, consultant, Yonkers.
"I view him as an anchorperson, not the person really out gathering the information. I don't think he should resign over this." - Cynthia Lazzari, 44, health-care information manager, Philadelphia.
No blood-No foul.
I just get pissed when people knee-jerk their opinions of NY. Yeah, there are a lot of liberals here. But there are also plenty of conservatives. Rudy Guiliani was beating Hillary Clinton before he got prostate cancer. Kissinger lives here. We count Peggy Noonan, Ann Coulter and Laura Ingram among our single women. Nixon retired here. NY is the capital of the world. As such, it is home to all types.
Bet this guy could get you a heck of a deal on a bouquet of pansies!
How come half their New Yorkers aren't from NY? :)
The days of MSM throwing shiite on the wall and hoping it sticks is over.
What has Chris Wallace had to say about all this? Has he been a little quiet too?
No, they took their time on this one to ensure they could blow up something that was already being investigated and ensure the biggest blow to the morale of our troops. - Scumbags...
Nice try, 'Rat brain.
We know why.
"I view him as an anchorperson, not the person really out gathering the information. I don't think he should resign over this." - Cynthia Lazzari, 44, health-care information manager, Philadelphia.Earth to Cynthia - Dan Rather is the Managing Editor of CBS News. Got that Cindy - Managing Editor. Ergo he's responsible for EVERYTHING that airs on CBS News.
We need to apply the MSM "second amendment standard" to all of MSM.
Their standard has been applied as such. Whenever a gun crime is committed, the MSM holds all gun owners guilty by association. MSM deducts guns are evil, henceforth, all gun owners are evil as the perp who commits a gun crime.
We can do no less for them on Rathergate.
CBS and Dan Rather have committed a horrendous act of journalistic betrayal to Americans who believed an honest and fair press was vital to our country's future as a free nation, now we can no longer believe. Therefore, all of MSM is also guilty of being democrat left wing political hacks along with Rather and CBS.
If the MSM cannot regulate themselves, there must be federal laws and regulations to control the out of control journalists. After all, even if it saves just one life, it is for the children.
End of story, courage.
HAHAHAHA!!! **wiping my eyes** I needed that laugh!! Nice try, Kroft. The fallout is to the entire CBS organization, not just 60 Minutes I or II.
Ain't it odd - Everything we say about Kerry is true and we HAVE the evidence...!!!!
That said, I'll continue with my manly job now...
"Now, you die, and we all move up in rank!"
Civil War? I prefer to call it The War of Rathern Agression
"The old fogeys like Wallace and Safer are noticeably quiet."
I don't know about Safer, but Mike Wallace is a solid journeyman liar in his own right. His work on 60 Minutes has had more than a few gaffs, frauds and biased events over the years. I can recall the episode where he was filmed making racist remarks during an interview in order to elicit damning statements from his victim, er, interview subject. Another time, 'damn-tough' journalist Wallace rolled over like a mining camp whore for Mrs. Jackson when she started tearing him a new one for asking questions about Jesse's wandering weener during one of his RAT primary bids.
When the plague breaks out on board a crowded ship, the careful reflect on the wisdom of throwing the sick overboard to the sharks. A body never knows when they might be the next one to come down with a little bit of fever...
They ALL suck precisely because they lie about THEIR bias. If they came out and said 'We're leftists and we're proud of it' the equation would be entirely different. We could all deal with them as we ought - on a factual basis. The great rub is in their perpetual lying about their stinking bias and what that entails.
60 minutes has been a useful tool for law firms to get PR and push spin to prejudice jury pools and public opinion. Reporters have been real predictable suckers for their egos.