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.
With all due respect Mr. Hewitt, out here in the real world, one of the first things we learn is that life is not fair. It's not supposed to be fair. Fair makes people weak. We grow & are made better people by struggling. Thinking the world should treat you fairly makes people expecting it, demanding it sound like a whiny child.
RE: "Everything they said about Bush is true; they just haven't found the evidence yet." - Dale Channer, 34, florist, the Bronx.
Yep, typical Leftie SCUMBAG, looking for evidence to fit the unwarranted smear! What a complete SCUMBAG.
That is slander Mr. Channer!
What the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have said, is based on their own first hand experience with Kerry, and actual true documents, yet you will not believe it....what is that called, when a person refuses to believe the truth to believe a lie?
a liar? an idiot?
... , contributer to MoveOn and prominent poster at DUh.
So forgiving that they rewarded him with the dead-last position for his time slot, even behind syndicated sitcoms.
Steve Kroft nearly single-handedly won the Dem nomination for Clinton with his fawning interview in 1992. He is the last person to be complaining about his colleagues' news "standards."
There is a large difference between 60 minutes Sunday and Wednesday. It's called Dan Rathers. He has always been the one newsman who I dislike the most. I only watch his regular newsbroadcast because it was for years the only station that comes in here in my corner of downeast Maine. I like all of those reporting for 60 minutes Sunday night with the exception of Mike Wallace. I mute him out or go back to playing with the dog while his portion is on. By the way, what does STFU mean?
It's nice to see Dan Hewitt in a lather. This is the guy who foisted the Clintons on us when he featured them on 60 minutes, an important forum---at the time---to launch their candidacy.
The Clintons proceeded to lie and lie and lie.
Years later in his auto bio, Hewitt admitted he knew they were lying but put them on anyway.
This is so sweet!! It's about time those pompous blowhards were taken down a peg or two, and the fact that they brought it on themselves makes it all the MORE sweet!!
The only difference between Dan Rather and the rest of the 60M crew is that he goofed up and went with obvious forgeries, instead of quality IBM Selectric typwritten forgeries.
STFU means Shut The F**k Up.
Howie Carr has him on every Friday to talk about the upcoming Fox News Sunday. Last Friday (or the week before), he said he just wanted to make a statement -- sounding kind of sheepish -- that "no one in the Wallace family had anything to do with it."
"Years later in his auto bio, Hewitt admitted he knew they were lying but put them on anyway."
Hesheit has paved his way into hell with what he did for the Clintoons.
Lowlife Hewitt co-opted a bunch of people putting on the lying Clintons.