Opening sequence (2006 – present)
|Created by||Don Hewitt|
|Presented by||See Correspondents below|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||46 (as of 2013–14 season)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jeff Fager|
|Running time||42 minutes (plus commercials)|
|Production company(s)||CBS News Productions
|Picture format||480i (4:3 SDTV) (1968-2008)
1080i (16:9 HDTV) (2008-present)
|Original run||September 24, 1968– present|
60 Minutes is an American television newsmagazine program that is broadcast on the CBS television network. Launched in 1968, Don Hewitt created the program and set it apart by using a unique style of reporter-centered investigation. In 2002, 60 Minutes was ranked at No. 6 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. The New York Times has called it "one of the most esteemed news magazines on American television."
- 1 Broadcast history
- 2 Format
- 3 Correspondents and hosts
- 4 Executive producers
- 5 Special contributor
- 6 Ratings and recognition
- 7 Controversies
- 7.1 Unintended acceleration
- 7.2 Alar
- 7.3 Werner Erhard
- 7.4 Brown & Williamson
- 7.5 U.S. Customs Service
- 7.6 Kennewick Man
- 7.7 Timothy McVeigh
- 7.8 Viacom/CBS cross-promotion
- 7.9 Killian Documents Controversy
- 7.10 "The Internet Is Infected" episode and the false hacker photo
- 7.11 Benghazi report
- 7.12 NSA report
- 7.13 Tesla Automaker report
- 8 Spin-offs
- 9 25th anniversary edition
- 10 International versions
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Book references
- 14 Further reading
- 15 External links
The program pioneered many of the most important investigative journalism procedures and techniques, including re-editing interviews, hidden cameras, and "gotcha journalism" visits to the home or office of an investigative subject. Imitators sprang up in Australia and Canada during the 1970s, as well as on local television news.
Initially, 60 Minutes aired as a bi-weekly show hosted by Harry Reasoner and Mike Wallace, debuting on September 24, 1968, and alternating weeks with other CBS News productions on Tuesday evenings at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The first edition, described by Reasoner in the opening as a "kind of a magazine for television," featured the following segments:
- A look inside the headquarters suites of presidential candidates Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey during their respective parties' national conventions that summer;
- Commentary by European writers Malcolm Muggeridge, Peter von Zahn, and Luigi Barzini, Jr. on the American electoral system;
- A commentary by political columnist Art Buchwald;
- An interview with then-Attorney General Ramsey Clark about police brutality;
- "A Digression," a brief, scripted piece in which two silhouetted men (one of them Andy Rooney) discuss the presidential campaign;
- An abbreviated version of an Academy Award-winning short film by Saul Bass, Why Man Creates; and
- A meditation by Wallace and Reasoner on the relation between perception and reality. Wallace said that the show aimed to "reflect reality".
The first "magazine-cover" chroma key was a photo of two helmeted policemen (for the Clark interview segment). Wallace and Reasoner sat in chairs on opposite sides of the set, which had a cream-colored backdrop; the more famous black backdrop (which is still used as of 2013) did not appear until the following year. The logo was in Helvetica type with the word "Minutes" spelled in all lower-case letters; the logo most associated with the show (rendered in Eurostile type with "Minutes" spelled in uppercase) did not appear until about 1974. Further, to extend the magazine motif, the producers added a "Vol. xx, No. xx" to the title display on the chroma key; that was seen until about 1971. The trademark stopwatch, however, did not appear on the inaugural broadcast; it would not debut until several episodes later. Alpo dog food was the sole sponsor of the first program.
Don Hewitt, who had been a producer of the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, sought out Wallace as a stylistic contrast to Reasoner. According to one historian of the show, the idea of the format was to make the hosts the reporters, to always feature stories that were of national importance but focused upon individuals involved with, or in conflict with, those issues, and to limit the reports' airtime to around 13 minutes. However, the initial season was troubled by lack of network confidence, as the show did not garner ratings much higher than that of other CBS News documentaries. As a rule, during that era, news programming during prime time lost money; networks mainly scheduled public affairs programs in prime time in order to bolster the prestige of their news departments, and thus boost ratings for the regular evening newscasts, which were seen by far more people than documentaries and the like. 60 Minutes struggled under that stigma during its first three years.
Changes to 60 Minutes came fairly early in the program's history. When Reasoner left CBS to co-anchor ABC's evening newscast (he would return to CBS and the show in 1978), Morley Safer joined the team in 1970, and he took over Reasoner's duties of reporting less aggressive stories. However, when Richard Nixon began targeting press access and reporting, even Safer, formerly the CBS News bureau chief in Saigon and London, began to do "hard" investigative reports, and during the 1970–71 season alone 60 Minutes reported on cluster bombs, the South Vietnamese Army, draft dodgers, Nigeria, the Middle East, and Northern Ireland.
Effects from the Prime Time Access Rule
By 1971, the FCC introduced the Prime Time Access Rule, which freed local network affiliates in the top 50 markets (in practice, the entire network) to take a half hour of prime time from the networks on Mondays through Saturdays and one full hour on Sundays. Because nearly all affiliates found production costs for the FCC's intended goal of increased public affairs programming very high and the ratings (thus advertising revenues) low, making it mostly unprofitable, the FCC created an exception for network-authored news and public affairs shows. After a six-month hiatus in late 1971, CBS found a prime place for 60 Minutes in a portion of that displaced time, 6–7 p.m. (Eastern time; 5–6 Central) on Sundays, in January 1972.
This proved somewhat less than satisfactory, however, because in order to accommodate CBS' telecasts of late afternoon NFL football games, 60 Minutes went on hiatus during the fall from 1972 to 1975 (and the summer of 1972). This took place because football telecasts were protected contractually from interruptions in the wake of the infamous "Heidi Bowl" incident on NBC in November 1968. Despite the irregular scheduling, the program's hard-hitting reports attracted a steadily growing audience, particularly during the waning days of the Vietnam War and the gripping events of the Watergate scandal; at that time, few if any other major network news shows did in-depth investigative reporting to the degree carried out by 60 Minutes. Eventually, during the summers of 1973 through 1975, CBS did allow the show back onto the prime time schedule proper, on Fridays in 1973 and Sundays the two years thereafter, as a replacement for the regular season's program.
It was only when the FCC returned an hour to the networks on Sundays (for children's/family or news programming), taken away from them four years earlier, in a 1975 amendment to the Access Rule that CBS finally found a viable permanent timeslot for 60 Minutes. When a family-oriented drama, Three for the Road, ended after a 12-week run in the fall, the newsmagazine took its place at 7 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Central on December 7. It has aired at that time since, for 38 years as of 2013[update], making 60 Minutes not only the longest-running prime time program currently in production, but also the television program (excluding daily programs such as evening newscasts or breakfast television shows) broadcasting for the longest length of time at a single time period each week in U.S. television history.
This move, and the addition of then-White House correspondent Dan Rather to the reporting team, made the program into a strong ratings hit and, eventually, a general cultural phenomenon. This was no less than a stunning reversal of the historically poor ratings performances of documentary programs on network television. By 1976, 60 Minutes became the top-rated show on Sunday nights in the U.S. By 1979, it had achieved the number-one spot among all television programs in the Nielsen ratings, unheard of before for a news broadcast in prime time. This success translated into great profits for CBS; advertising rates went from $17,000 per 30-second spot in 1975 to $175,000 in 1982.
The program sometimes does not start until after 7 p.m. Eastern, due largely to CBS's live broadcast of NFL games. At the conclusion of an NFL game, 60 Minutes will air in its entirety. However, on the West Coast (and all of the Mountain time zone), because the actual end of the live games is much earlier in the afternoon in comparison to the Eastern and Central time zones, 60 Minutes is always able to start at its normal start time of 7 p.m. Pacific Time (6 p.m. Mountain Time), leaving affiliates free to broadcast local news, the CBS Evening News, and other local or syndicated programming leading up to 60 Minutes. The show's success has led CBS Sports to schedule the Masters Tournament, the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, and other events leading into 60 Minutes and the rest of the network's primetime lineup, thus (again, except on the West Coast) pre-empting the Sunday editions of the CBS Evening News and affiliates' local newscasts.
With complaints of late starts because of late NFL games, starting in the 2012-13 season, CBS officially changed the start time of 60 Minutes to 7:30 p.m. Eastern time on NFL doubleheader Sundays (there are nine during the NFL season -- eight during the first 16 weeks of the season, and the final week). 
Pre-emptions since 1978
The program has rarely been pre-empted since 1978. Two notable pre-emptions occurred in 1976 and 1977, to make room for the annual telecast of The Wizard of Oz, which had recently returned to CBS after having been shown on NBC for eight years. However, CBS would, in later years, schedule the film so that it would no longer pre-empt 60 Minutes. Another exception is anytime CBS airs the Super Bowl or since 2003, alternating years where the AFC Championship Game has the 6:30 p.m. Eastern start time, which is played into prime-time and followed by a special lead-out program.
Radio broadcast and Internet distribution
60 Minutes is also aired via CBS Radio on several of its radio stations at the same time as the television broadcast (in each station's own local market), such as WCBS in New York City, KNX in Los Angeles, WBBM in Chicago, WWJ in Detroit, KCBS in San Francisco, and other stations owned by CBS. An audio version of the full show without advertising is also distributed via podcast and the iTunes Store, beginning with the September 23, 2007 broadcast. Video from the program (including full episodes) is also made available for streaming several hours after broadcast on CBSNews.com and CBS Interactive property CNET TV.
|Seasons||Time slot (Eastern)|
if NFL doubleheader
60 Minutes consists of three long-form news stories, without superimposed graphics. There is a commercial break between two stories. The stories are introduced from a set with a backdrop resembling pages from a magazine story on the same topic. The show undertakes its own investigations and follows up on investigations instigated by national newspapers and other sources.
60 Minutes blends the probing journalism of the seminal 1950s CBS series See It Now with Edward R. Murrow (a show for which Hewitt was the director its first few years) and the personality profiles of another Murrow program, Person to Person. In Hewitt's own words, 60 Minutes blends "higher Murrow" and "lower Murrow".
For most of the 1970s, the program included Point/Counterpoint, in which a liberal and a conservative commentator debated a particular issue. This segment originally featured James J. Kilpatrick representing the conservative side and Nicholas von Hoffman for the liberal, with Shana Alexander taking over for von Hoffman after he departed in 1974. The segment was an innovation that caught the public imagination as a live version of competing editorials. Point/Counterpoint was also lampooned by the NBC comedy series Saturday Night Live, which featured Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd as debaters, with Aykroyd typically beginning his remarks with, "Jane, you ignorant slut"; in the motion picture Airplane!, in which the faux Kilpatrick argues in favor of the plane crashing; and in the earlier sketch comedy film, The Kentucky Fried Movie, where the segment was called "Count/Pointercount". A similar concept was revived briefly in March 2003, this time featuring Bob Dole and Bill Clinton, former opponents in the 1996 presidential election. The pair agreed to do ten segments, called "Clinton/Dole" and "Dole/Clinton" in alternating weeks, but did not continue into the fall television season. Reports indicated that the segments were considered too gentlemanly, in the style of the earlier "Point/Counterpoint", and lacked the feistiness of Crossfire.
Andy Rooney segment
From 1978 to 2011, the show usually ended with a (usually light-hearted and humorous) commentary by Andy Rooney expounding on topics of wildly varying import, ranging from international politics, to economics, and to personal philosophy on everyday life. One recurring topic was measuring the amount of coffee in coffee cans.
Rooney's pieces, particularly one in which he referred to actor Mel Gibson as a "wacko," on occasion led to complaints from viewers. Rooney published several books documenting his contributions to the program, including Years Of Minutes and A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney. Rooney retired from 60 Minutes, delivering his final commentary on October 2, 2011. It was his 1,097th commentary over his 34-year career on the program. He died one month later, on November 4, 2011. The November 13, 2011 edition of the program featured an hour-long tribute to Rooney and his career, and included a rebroadcast of his final commentary segment.
The opening sequence features a 60 Minutes "magazine cover" with the show's trademark, an Aristo stopwatch, intercut with preview clips of the episode's stories. The sequence ends with each of the current correspondents and hosts introducing themselves. The last host who appears (currently Scott Pelley) then currently says, "Those stories tonight on 60 Minutes". When Rooney was a prominent fixture, the final line was "Those stories and Andy Rooney, tonight on 60 Minutes". Before that, and whenever Rooney did not appear, the final line was "Those stories and more, tonight on 60 Minutes".
60 Minutes was the first, and remains the only, regularly scheduled program in the U.S. to never have used theme music. The only "theme" is the ticking of the stopwatch, which counts off each of the broadcast's titular 60 minutes, starting from zero at the beginning of each show. It is seen during the opening title sequence, before each commercial break, and at the tail-end of the closing credits, and each time it appears it displays (within reasonable accuracy) the elapsed time of the episode to that point.
On October 29, 2006, the opening sequence changed from a black background to white. The black background had been used for over a decade. Also, the gray background for the Aristo stopwatch in the "cover" changed to red, the color for the title text changed to white, and the stopwatch itself changed from its 31-year-old diagonal position to an upright position.
Videos and transcripts of the show, as well as clips that did not make it to the broadcast are available on the show's website. In September 2010, the show launched a website called "60 Minutes Overtime", in which stories broadcast on the air are discussed in further detail.
Correspondents and hosts
Current correspondents and commentators
- Hosts as of 2012[update]
- Steve Kroft (host, 1989–present, co-editor)
- Lara Logan (part-time correspondent, 2005–2012; host, 2012–present)
- Scott Pelley (host, 2003–present)
- Morley Safer (part-time correspondent, 1968–1970; host, 1970–present)
- Bob Simon (host, 1996–present)
- Lesley Stahl (host, 1991–present, co-editor)
- Bill Whitaker (host, 2014 –present, host)
- Part-time correspondents as of 2013[update]
- Anderson Cooper (2006–present)
- Sanjay Gupta (2011–present)
- Norah O'Donnell (2013–present)
- Charlie Rose (2008–present)
Former correspondents and hosts
- Former hosts
- Christiane Amanpour (part-time correspondent, 1996–2000; host, 2000–2005)
- Ed Bradley † (part-time correspondent, 1976–1981; host, 1981–2006)
- Harry Reasoner † (host, 1968–1970 and 1978–1991)
- Dan Rather (part-time correspondent, 1968–1975; host, 1975–1981 and 2005–2006)
- Diane Sawyer (part-time correspondent, 1981–1984; host, 1984–1989)
- Meredith Vieira (part-time correspondent, 1982–1985 and 1991–1993; host, 1990–1991)
- Mike Wallace † (host, 1968–2006 and 2008)
- Former part-time correspondents
- Charles Kuralt † (1968–1979)
- Walter Cronkite † (1968–1981)
- Roger Mudd (1968–1980)
- Eric Sevareid † (1968–1969)
- Bill Plante (1968–1995)
- John Hart (1969–1975)
- Bob Schieffer (1973–1996)
- Morton Dean (1975–1979)
- Marlene Sanders (1978–1987)
- Charles Osgood (1981–1994)
- Forrest Sawyer (1985–1987)
- Connie Chung (1990–1993)
- Paula Zahn (1990–1999)
- John Roberts (1992–2005)
- Allen Martin (1994–1995)
- Russ Mitchell (1995–1998)
- Carol Marin (1997–2002)
- Bryant Gumbel (1998–2002)
- Katie Couric (2006–2011)
- Byron Pitts (2009–2013)
- Allison Stewart (2012)
† = Deceased
Commentators for 60 Minutes have included:
- Shana Alexander † (Liberal debater, 1975–1979)
- Bill Clinton (Liberal debater, 2003)
- Stanley Crouch (Commentator, 1996)
- Bob Dole (Conservative debater, 2003)
- James J. Kilpatrick † (Conservative debater, 1971–1979)
- Molly Ivins † (Liberal commentator, 1996)
- P. J. O'Rourke (Conservative commentator, 1996)
- Andy Rooney † (Commentator, 1978–2011)
- Nicholas von Hoffman (Liberal debater, 1971–1974)
† = Deceased
- Al Holbrook (1971–1978, 1982–1984)
Ratings and recognition
Based on ratings, 60 Minutes is the most successful program in U.S. television history, since it was moved into its present timeslot in 1975. For five of its seasons it has been that year's top program, a feat matched by the sitcoms All in the Family and The Cosby Show, and surpassed only by the reality television show American Idol, which had been the #1 show for six consecutive seasons until the 2011–12 television season. 60 Minutes was a top ten show for 23 seasons in a row (1977–2000), an unsurpassed record.
60 Minutes first broke into the Ratings Top 20 during the 1976–77 season. The following season, it was the fourth-most-watched show, and by 1979–80, it was the number one show. During the 21st century, it remains among the top 20 programs in the Nielsen ratings, and the highest-rated news magazine.
- 2000 to 2009
- October 6, 2013: 17.94 million viewers from 7:44pm to 8:44pm (Denver Broncos vs Dallas Cowboys drew 28.32 million from 7pm until 7:44pm; most watched since December 16, 2012). Sunday's broadcast featured Steve Kroft's report on the federal disability insurance program, Lara Logan's story on the battle that inspired the film "Black Hawk Down," and an Anderson Cooper segment on potentially dangerous near-Earth objects such as comets and asteroids. & 
- December 1, 2013: 18.09 million viewers from 7:50pm to 8:50pm (Denver Broncos vs Kansas City Chiefs drew 28.11 million from 7pm until 7:50pm) 
The show has won 20 Peabody Awards for segments including "All in the Family", an investigation into abuses by government and military contractors; "The CIA's Cocaine", which uncovered CIA involvement in drug smuggling; "Friendly Fire", a report on incidents of friendly fire in the Gulf War; "The Duke Rape Case", an investigation into accusations of rape at an off campus lacrosse team party in 2006; and "The Killings in Haditha", an investigation into the killing of Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines.
Impact on innocent victims
Record of longest-running show
The show currently holds the record for the longest continuously running program of any genre scheduled during American network prime time; it has aired at 7 p.m. Eastern Time on Sundays since December 7, 1975 (although since 1998, it is officially scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Sundays where a CBS affiliate has a late NFL game). The longer-running Meet the Press has also aired in prime time, but currently airs during the daytime, as it has for most of its history. The Walt Disney anthology television series, which premiered in 1954, and the Hallmark Hall of Fame, which has aired since 1951, have aired longer, but none of them has aired in prime time continually, as 60 Minutes has done.
The show has been praised for landmark journalism and received many awards. However, it has also become embroiled in some controversy, including (in order of appearance):
On November 23, 1986, 60 Minutes aired a segment greenlit by Hewitt, concerning the Audi 5000 automobile, a popular German luxury car. The story covered a supposed problem of "unintended acceleration" when the brake pedal was pushed, with emotional interviews with six people who sued Audi (unsuccessfully) after they crashed their cars, including one woman whose 6-year-old boy had been killed. Footage was shown of an Audi 5000 with the accelerator moving down on its own, accelerating the car, after an expert witness employed by one of the plaintiffs modified it with a concealed device to cause it to do so. Independent investigators concluded that this was most likely due to driver incompetence, where the driver let their foot slip off the brake and onto the accelerator. Tests by Audi and independent journalists showed that even with the throttle wide open, the car would simply stall if the brakes were actually being used.
The incident devastated Audi sales in the United States, which did not rebound for 15 years. The initial incidents which prompted the report were found by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Transport Canada to have been attributable to operator error, where car owners had depressed the accelerator pedal instead of the brake pedal. CBS issued a partial retraction, without acknowledging the test results of involved government agencies. Years later, Dateline NBC, a rival to 60 Minutes, was found guilty of similar tactics regarding the fuel tank integrity of General Motors pickup trucks.
In February 1989, 60 Minutes aired a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council claiming that the use of daminozide (Alar) on apples presented an unacceptably high health risk to consumers. Apple sales dropped and CBS was sued unsuccessfully by apple growers. Alar was subsequently banned for use on food crops in the U.S. by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
On March 3, 1991, 60 Minutes broadcast "Werner Erhard", which dealt with controversies involving Werner Erhard's personal and business life. One year after the 60 Minutes piece aired, Erhard filed a lawsuit against CBS, claiming that the broadcast contained several "false, misleading and defamatory" statements about Erhard. One month after filing the lawsuit, Erhard filed for dismissal. Erhard later told Larry King in an interview that he dropped the suit after receiving legal advice telling him that in order to win it, it would not be sufficient to prove that CBS knew the allegations were false, but that he would also need to prove that CBS acted with malice. Because of factual inaccuracies, the segment was later removed by CBS from its archives, with this disclaimer: "This segment has been deleted at the request of CBS News for legal or copyright reasons."
Brown & Williamson
In 1995, former Brown & Williamson Vice President for Research and Development Jeffrey Wigand provided information to 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman that B&W had systematically hidden the health risks of their cigarettes. (See transcription.) Furthermore, it was alleged that B&W had introduced foreign agents (such as fiberglass and ammonia) with the intent of enhancing the effect of nicotine. Bergman began to produce a piece based upon the information, but ran into opposition from Don Hewitt who, along with CBS lawyers, feared a billion dollar lawsuit from Brown and Williamson for tortious interference for encouraging Wigand to violate his nondisclosure agreement. A number of people at CBS would benefit from a sale of CBS to Westinghouse Electric Corporation, including the head of CBS lawyers and CBS News. Also, because of the interview, the son of CBS President Laurence Tisch (who also controlled Lorillard Tobacco) was among the people from the big tobacco companies at risk of being caught having committed perjury. Due to Hewitt's hesitation, The Wall Street Journal instead broke Wigand's story. The 60 Minutes piece was eventually aired with substantially altered content and minus some of the most damning evidence against B&W. The exposé of the incident was published in an article in Vanity Fair by Marie Brenner, entitled "The Man Who Knew Too Much".
The New York Times wrote: "the traditions of Edward R. Murrow were diluted in the process," though the newspaper revised the quote slightly, suggesting that 60 Minutes and CBS had "betrayed the legacy of Edward R. Murrow". The incident was turned into a seven-times Oscar-nominated feature film entitled The Insider, directed by Michael Mann and starring Russell Crowe as Wigand, Al Pacino as Bergman, and Christopher Plummer as Mike Wallace. Wallace denounced the portrayal of him as inaccurate to his stance on the issue.
U.S. Customs Service
60 Minutes alleged in 1997 that agents of the U.S. Customs Service ignored drug trafficking across the Mexico – United States border at San Diego. The only evidence was a memorandum apparently written by Rudy Camacho, who was the head of the San Diego branch office. Based on this memo, CBS alleged that Camacho had allowed trucks belonging to a particular firm to cross the border unimpeded. Mike Horner, a former Customs Service employee, had passed the memos on to 60 Minutes, and even provided a copy with an official stamp. Camacho was not consulted about the piece, and his career was devastated in the immediate term as his own department placed suspicion on him. In the end, it turned out that Horner had forged the documents as an act of revenge for his treatment within the Customs Service. Camacho sued CBS and settled for an undisclosed amount of money in damages. Hewitt was forced to issue an on-air retraction.
A legal battle between archaeologists and the Umatilla tribe over the remains of a skeleton, nicknamed Kennewick Man, was reported by 60 Minutes on October 25, 1998, to which the Umatilla tribe reacted negatively. The tribe considered the segment heavily biased in favor of the scientists, cutting out important arguments, such as explanations of Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The report focused heavily on the racial politics of the controversy and also added inflammatory arguments, such as questioning the legitimacy of Native American sovereignty – much of the racial focus of the segment was later reported to have been either unfounded and/or misinterpreted.
On March 12, 2000, 60 Minutes aired an interview with Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh. At the time, McVeigh had already been convicted and sentenced to death for the bombing and subsequent deaths of 168 people. On the program, McVeigh was given the opportunity to vent against the government. Following the program, a federal policy called the Special Confinement Unit Media Policy was enacted prohibiting face-to-face interviews with death row inmates. A federal inmate challenged the policy in Hammer v. Ashcroft, under which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the prison policy. In March 2010, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in the case, and the policy limiting media access to death row inmates remains in place. CBS refuses to show the entire interview, and has stated no reasons.
In recent years, the show has been accused of promoting books, films, and interviews with celebrities who are published or promoted by sister businesses of media conglomerate Viacom (which owned CBS from 2000 to 2005) and publisher Simon & Schuster (which remains a part of CBS Corporation after the 2005 CBS/Viacom split), without disclosing the journalistic conflict-of-interest to viewers.
Killian Documents Controversy
The Killian documents controversy (also referred to as Memogate or Rathergate) involved six documents critical of President George W. Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard in 1972–73. Four of these documents were presented as authentic in a 60 Minutes Wednesday broadcast aired by CBS on September 8, 2004, less than two months before the 2004 Presidential Election, but it was later found that CBS had failed to authenticate the documents. Subsequently, several typewriter and typography experts concluded the documents are forgeries, as have some media sources. No forensic document examiners or typography experts authenticated the documents, which may not be possible without original documents. The provider of the documents, Lt. Col. Bill Burkett, claimed to have burned the originals after faxing copies to CBS.
"The Internet Is Infected" episode and the false hacker photo
In the March 29, 2009 episode "The Internet Is Infected", SecureWorks' Don Jackson, a data protection professional, was interviewed. Jackson himself declares in the program that: "A part of my job is to know the enemy". However, during the interview, Jackson showed a photo of Finnish upper-level comprehensive school pupils and misidentified them as Russian hackers. In the photo, one of the children is wearing a jacket with the Coat of Arms of Finland on it. Another one is wearing a cap which clearly has the logo of Karjala, a Finnish brand of beer, on it. The principal of the school in Taivalkoski confirmed that the photo was taken at the school about five years before the program was broadcast.
The photo's exact origins are unknown, but it is widely known in Finland, having been originally posted to a Finnish social networking site, IRC-Galleria, in the early 2000s. It spread all over Finnish internet communities, and even originated a couple of patriotically titled (but intentionally misspelled) mock sites. 60 Minutes did issue a correction and on-air apology.[when?]
The 27 October 2013 60 Minutes report, by correspondent Lara Logan, reported an eyewitness account by "Morgan Jones", who described racing to the Benghazi compound while the attack was underway, scaling a 12-foot wall and knocking out a terrorist with the butt of a rifle as he desperately tried in vain to rescue the embattled ambassador and his guards. He also claimed he had secretly visited a Benghazi hospital to see Ambassador Christopher Stevens' body. As it turned out, this account was entirely fictional, with "Morgan Jones" (whose real name was Dylan Davies) having stayed at his villa. Relying on Dylan Davies word, the 60 Minutes report also related many incriminating (to the Obama administration) "facts" about missed clues leading up to the coming attack. He recounted the same tale in his new book, The Embassy House, published by a subunit of CBS, two days after the 60 Minutes report aired.
Following the retraction of the story, 60 Minutes was criticized for missing several red flags by Al Ortiz, CBS News’s executive director of standards and practices. Dylan Davies told 60 Minutes that he had told an alternative version of his actions to his employer, but apparently 60 Minutes failed to try to independently verify which version was true. In fact, unknown to 60 Minutes Dylan Davies' account to the FBI and the State Department also conflicted with version told to 60 Minutes, which Ortiz believes should have been "knowable". The 60 Minutes report's declaration that Al Qaeda was behind the attack, a contentios issue, was also described as "not adequately attributed". According to New York Magazine’s Joe Hagan, Logan was protected from scrutiny by support from powerful backers at CBS News, including Chairman Jeff Fager. Additionally, the post of senior vice president of standards and practices, which is responsible for "outside scrutiny" of stories, was unfilled at the time. Eric Wemple of The Washington Post describes the situation as: That “60 Minutes” suddenly and inexplicably got out of the business of fact-checking boggles the mind and body.
CBS News chairman Jeff Fager has called this "as big a mistake as there has been" in the news program's 45-year history. 60 Minutes later aired an apology that was deemed inadequate by a wide range of commentators. Lara Logan and her producer Max McClellan were suspended following the criticism, but Logan returned to work at CSB around June 2014, with McClellan probably returning too.
Logan’s own credulity, it seems, was the central pillar of the report. When asked why she found Davies’s account believable, Logan said that Davies was one of the “best guys you’ll ever meet” and a few minutes with him would convince anyone of his candor, according to a person familiar with her comments. And Davies’s tale of heroic special-forces operators being let down by politicians and bureaucrats thousands of miles from the front made sense in the world in which Logan had been living for the better part of a decade.—Joe Hagan. "Benghazi and the Bombshell". New York Magazine.
On December 15, 2013 60 Minutes aired a report on the NSA that was widely criticized as false and a "puff piece." The story was reported by John Miller, who once worked in the office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Tesla Automaker report
On March 30, 2014 60 Minutes presented a story on the Tesla Model S luxury electric automobile in a segment, with Scott Pelley conducting an interview with CEO Elon Musk concerning the car brand as well as his SpaceX company. Within a day, the automotive weblog site Jalopnik reported that the sounds accompanying footage of the car shown during the story were actually sounds from a traditional gasoline engine dubbed over the footage, when in reality the electric car is much quieter. CBS released a statement explaining that the sound was the result of an audio editing error, and subsequently removed the noise from the online version of the piece. However, several news outlets, as well as Jalopnik itself, have expressed doubt over the authenticity of this explanation, noting the similar scandal involving Tesla Motors and The New York Times in 2013.
The main 60 Minutes show has created a number of spin-offs over the years.
This newsmagazine was patterned after 60 Minutes and was aimed at children. It aired as the final program in CBS's Saturday morning lineup from 1978 to 1982. It was hosted by Christopher Glenn (who also served as the voice-over for the interstitial program In the News and was an anchor on the CBS Radio Network), along with Betsy Aaron (1978–1980) and Betty Ann Bowser (1980–1982).
60 Minutes More
60 Minutes More was a spin-off that ran for a single television season during 1996 and 1997. The episodes featured popular stories from the past that were expanded with updates on the original story. Each episode featured three of these segments.
60 Minutes II
In 1999, a second edition of 60 Minutes was started in the U.S., called 60 Minutes II. This edition was later renamed 60 Minutes by CBS for the fall of 2004 in an effort to sell it as a high-quality program, since some had sarcastically referred to it as 60 Minutes, Jr. CBS News president Andrew Heyward said, "The Roman numeral II created some confusion on the part of the viewers and suggested a watered-down version". However, a widely known controversy which came to be known as "Rathergate", regarding a report that aired September 8, 2004, caused another name change. The show was renamed 60 Minutes Wednesday both to differentiate itself and to avoid tarnishing the Sunday edition, as the editions were editorially independent from one another. The show reverted to its original title with Roman numerals on July 8, 2005, when the show moved to a Friday night 8 p.m. ET time slot to finish its run. The show's final broadcast was on September 2, 2005.
60 Minutes on CNBC
In 2011, CNBC started airing a 60 Minutes spin-off of its own, called 60 Minutes on CNBC. Hosted by Lesley Stahl and Steve Kroft, it airs updated business reports from the original show and offers footage that were not included in the original broadcasts.
60 Minutes of Sports
CBS started to produce a sports-themed version of 60 Minutes for corporate sister and premium channel Showtime beginning in January 2013. The show, titled 60 Minutes Sports, includes two original segments plus a classic interview from the show's archives. Personalities from CBS Sports join the 60 Minutes team in contributing.
25th anniversary edition
For the 60 Minutes 25th anniversary in 1993, Charles Kuralt interviewed Don Hewitt, the active correspondents, some former correspondents, and revisited notable stories and celebrities.
The Australian version of 60 Minutes premiered on February 11, 1979. It still airs each Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. on the Nine Network and affiliates.
Reporter Richard Carleton suffered a heart attack on May 7, 2006. He asked a question at a news conference for the Beaconsfield Mine collapse, then walked out and suffered cardiac arrest. Paramedics tried to revive him for 20 minutes until an ambulance arrived, but was pronounced dead on arrival.
Although Nine Network has the rights to the format, as of 2007, it does not have rights to stories from the U.S. program. Nevertheless, stories from the flagship 60 Minutes program in the U.S. often air on the Australian program by subleasing them from Network Ten. In 1980, 60 Minutes won a Logie Award for their investigation of lethal abuses at the Chelmsford psychiatric hospital in Sydney.
In the mid-1980s, an edited version (approx. 30 minutes in length) of the U.S. broadcast edition of 60 Minutes was shown for a time on West German television. This version retained the English-language soundtrack of the original, but also featured German subtitles.
The New Zealand version of 60 Minutes has aired on national television since 1989, when it was originally launched on TV3. In 1992, the rights were acquired by TVNZ, who began broadcasting it in 1993. The network aired the program for nine years before dropping it in 2002 for its own program, entitled Sunday, which is currently the highest-rated current affairs show broadcast on New Zealand television, followed by 20/20. 60 Minutes was broadcast by rival network TV3, before switching to the Sky Television owned Prime channel in 2013, when the contract changed hands.
The news program of National Broadcasting of Chile (TVN), the public television network in that country, was named 60 Minutos ("60 Minutes") from 1975 to 1988, but the program had no accusations of any kind and no investigative reporting.
- A Mexican version, which featured Juan Ruiz Healy serving as anchor, aired in the late 1970s and 1980s.
- A Peruvian version aired in the early 1980s, called 60 Minutos. However, in the late 1980s there was also a similarly named series, but unrelated to the series produced by CBS News.
- In 2004, Brazil's Rede Bandeirantes planned a licensed localized version, but the plan was canceled.
- CBS Television Studios is rumoured to be planning licensed localized versions for several Latin American countries.
- Edited reruns of 60 Minutes interviews have aired on various cable channels in the United States, including TV Land and ESPN Classic.
- In Thailand, 60 Minutes (Thailand) was broadcast on TV 9 (from 1995 to 1997) and BBTV Channel 7 (from 2002 to 2003).
- This Hour Has Seven Days, which pre-dates 60 Minutes by a couple of years, was similar in journalistic style and format
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New Zealand version