The Mainstream Media Hubris of 60 Minutes
"It's blowing out at our stores," says Bob Wietrak, a vice president of merchandising at Barnes & Noble, Inc. "There has been phenomenal publicity. The book has been talked about on every talk show and every news show you can think of. Also, he's an authority. He was there."the description of Richard Clarke's Against All Enemies in 2004. Just a few months before that book came out, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill collaborated on Ron Suskind's The Price of Loyalty. And wouldn't you know it. Both O'Neill and the former terrorism adviser got prominent red carpet treatment on 60 Minutes, as well as making their rounds on the media circuit.
So let's lay out the 2004 timeline:
January 11, 2004: Paul O'Neill is interviewed (video here)in regards to his collaboration on Suskind's The Price of Loyalty. *Yawn*
March 21, 2004: Richard Clarke's interview airs. He had no publisher, until CBS came along seeking him out.
April 18, 2004: Bob Woodward with another interview and a simultaneous April 18th release of his new book, Plan of Attack.
May 21, 2004: 60 Minutes interviews retired general Anthony Zinni
That's 4 hit pieces running up to the November Presidential Election, plus coinciding with Kitty Kelley's book, The Family: The Real Story Behind the Bush Dynasty, which was due out for a September 14th, 2004 release, 60 Minutes runs with one too many anti-Bush stories and blunders on September 8th with this unintended gift to conservatives: RatherGate.
I guess 60 Minutes just couldn't squeeze in Michael Scheuer, author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, until a bit over a week after the November Election.
Notice that Simon & Schuster is the publisher of Richard Clarke's book, Anthony Zinni's book, the Suskind-O'Neill book, and Woodward's books. And as Little Green Footballs pointed out in 2004, Simon & Schuster is owned by Viacom, which owns CBS, which produces 60 Minutes. If you don't think people's political allegiance doesn't influence their decisions, consider the following:
Financial records show that Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone has donated $19,000 to Democrats in the past year , some of it to Kerry, for whom he has also pledged to raise at least $50,000 as part of 'a bundle' of donations. The group's chief executive Mel Karmazin has also given $6,576 to Democrat politicians in the past year.
Kerry's campaign has received large donations from other major media and entertainment firms. At least 11 of Kerry's 'bundlers' of gifts of $50,000 or more are from the media. One, Nancy Tellem, heads CBS Entertainment.
When people claim that their decisions aren't based upon partisan politics, I call BS. I would have more respect for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, if they'd prominently admit to their biases. Have their writers mention in their bios, which way they vote. Now that would be much more honest, in the way of journalism.
So another anti-Bush book hits the market, another exclusive interview, last night; and you gotta love the timing of it. Why am I not surprised? It's easy money.
How many anti-Bush segments did CBS 60 Minutes air in 2004, including anti-military and anti-war pieces?
Have they ever featured a conservative, pro-Bush author in a segment? Pile them onto all the other anti-Bush "liberal hit jobs (to borrow Clinton's way of expressing things)", and what do we have? An agenda-driven, liberally-biased, see BS program, in its umpteenth year on the air. And for all the good it did them in 2004, President Bush is still our President, and the leader of the free world. God bless him!
Flopping Aces (non-accessible at the moment)
I'll update later tonight with more.
UPDATE 10/03/06: Curt attached an addendum to this post over at Flopping Aces. I've been Googling around to see if the incumbent Bill Clinton received this kind of negative onslaught from 60 Minutes in 1996; in a way, it's a bit of apples and oranges; but hey! Even apples and oranges share a common characteristic.
Anyway, I found that Roger Morris came out with Partners in Power in 1996, and 60 Minutes decided the content was too "explosive" for them to go with reporting on it:
The liberal establishment has been attacked for not giving Partners in Power the attention it warrants in this election year. Howie Carr, a Boston radio-show host, observed in the Boston Herald about two weeks after the book's publication: "Haven't yet heard it mentioned on any of the Sunday-morning chattering skull shows, have you?"
[Roger] Morris himself told The New York Post he saw a double standard in the way his Nixon critique was played up and his Clinton critique played down. In her New York Post media column, Maureen O'Brien said CBS's 60 Minutes had "backed off" from the Morris book because "the content was apparently so explosive," and went on to air Morris's charges. Mike Wallace, who investigated the charge that Clinton was involved in a guns-and-drugs smuggling operation, says he was not able to find independent confirmation.
So Roger Morris' book was too "explosive" and yet in 2004 they didn't find 4 "hard-hitting" anti-Bush books during an election year, "explosive"? And Unfit for Command? Did that get the time of day from the producers at 60 Minutes? They did find the time to squeeze in and devote an interview segment on Bill Clinton, June 20, 2004, giving him the opportunity to promote his book, My Life.