Talk:60 Minutes/Archive 1

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This archive page covers approximately the dates between June 2004 and October 2006.

Post replies to the main talk page, copying the section you are replying to if necessary. (See Wikipedia:How to archive a talk page.)


The line "The show usually ends with curmudgeon Andy Rooney expounding on such varied topics as why they don't make paper clips the way they used to, although lately his commentaries have devolved into a Chicken Little routine on how the "sky is falling" in the war to liberate Iraq." is clearly not a neutral point of view and should not be part of the article. Is there a more appropriate way of handling Andy Rooney's political views in this article?

I agree, when I read that I definitely thought that it had to be taken out because it wasn't NPOV.Mastgrr

Complete make-over required?

Overall I think this entire page needs re-doing. Examples of text unsuitable for a dictionary:

"The American 60 Minutes has always stood out from the rest with its unique style, awards, and ability to generate news and controversy."

Questionable neutrality.

Fixed. - Mark 01:18, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

"The program (together with its contributors) has won untold Emmys and other prestigious awards over the 35 years it has aired."

Fuzzy. Why not present the actual number of awards given to a specific date?

Done. They have won 75 up until now. - Mark 01:18, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

"One common theme to the stories involves some cheating corporate executive or other high-placed alleged wrongdoer who is asked to comment on a story adverse to him or her. Invariably, the alleged wrongdoer does not want to comment and is shown running away from the pursuing 60 Minutes reporter and camera crew."

Very fuzzy. An example of what occationally happens (I havn't seen it so far) is portrayed as happening on regular basis.

Further more the entire entry speaks in postivive terms of the show. No criticism of any kind is offered. Another reason to question neutrality.

The article feels like it was written by someone who strongly dislikes 60 Minutes. It emphasizes negative aspects of the show, while only briefly going over anything positive, in my view. It needs to be leveled and rebuilt in several key areas, I think. 60 Minutes is generally the most important and prestigious investigative journalism program on TV and deserves better than this. --Pathogen 03:55, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
Altered some stuff, and am looking at this right now:
"Video games

The March 6, 2005 segment was criticized by video game players for encouraging video game censorship."

This needs to get less vague and/or be shown to be especially relevant, or be deleted. Almost every accusatory segment in the history of the show has been criticized by one group or another. I suspect that a lot of our wiki writers are video game players, which in turn led to this addition to the article. --Pathogen 04:36, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

I can see your criticism of that section, but I'm not sure your concerns apply to the "Controversy" section. If they do, please justify. Before the "Controversy" section was added (which was named something else at the time), the article was accused of essentially being a fluff piece. —Joseph/N328KF (Talk) 14:49, 2005 May 25 (UTC)

Personally, I'd rather see the "controversies" section contextualized and taken out of the bolded list format. At present, those sections visually claim priority over the rest of the text, and a list of enemies for 60 Minutes reads like the phone book. From the National Council of Churches (USA) to the National Rifle Association to most world governments, virtually everyone has protested something or other. At the same time, the few cases of actual spoofing or spiking a story or staging a result stand out as exceptions. The Masden source said that, in 1984 (copyright date), over 70% of all the mail sent to CBS was about 60 Minutes content, so it's worth pointing out that every story will have its protestors and supporters, and these few examples stand out as major journalistic gaffes. In that light, the "Viacom cross-promotion" should be removed from the bolded list and folded into discursive text, because it's a general rather than specific complaint, and it's a complaint about perceived coverage, rather than an act on the part of the show's producers. It's also worth mentioning, somewhere, that the show has full time researchers (18 of them in 1984). In the same section, it would be worthwhile to mention the "60 Minutes Effect," which is like the slashdot effect, only much moreso. (In fact, there is a standing policy in the Pentagon to not cooperate with any 60 Minutes story. This is from before the "Friendly Fire" story.) Geogre 03:19, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

The Killian Memo Fiasco

I've put in a bit about the Killian memo fiasco, but we need to go back through the decades-long history of the show and find more examples of extraordinarily poor "journalism" and give this entry a bit more -- heh -- balance. Sdaconsulting 15:48, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I think I've found a few. I was extremely surprised that these were not in there. They need to be elaborated on. I can provide lots of detail about the Audi 5000 incident (I know people who were in some manner involved) but would appreciate assistance on the other two I added, as well as other incidents that may have occurred. Either last week or this week, 60 Minutes had to issue a retraction about a cocaine smuggling incident. Should we add that? -Joseph 22:34, 2004 Sep 12 (UTC)
How about that? Is that better? -Joseph (Talk) 18:23, 2004 Sep 13 (UTC)

I think at some point events pass from controversy into fact. I had extensive discussions with others on this, some software engineers with long experience with fonts. An extremely left wing, but fair member was the first to admit that these documents were without a doubt forgeries. Due to the 1st amendment, this is not an actionable legal matter, so this will never find its way to the courts, it will always be a matter of the court of public opinion. I don't see how terminology such as 'alleged', or using such guarded language or leaving out well known fact such as the superscripted "th" serves the public interest. This seems to me to be a deliberate attempt to make it seem as if there is much more doubt than there actually is on this matter. Look at the little green footballs site and see if you don't agree - http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=12526_Bush_Guard_Documents-_Forged.--Omnicog 18:13, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Possibly Unfairly Associated with "60 Minutes" Proper

I think it's also worth mentioning for accuracy's sake that the story about the memos was aired as part of "60 Minutes Wednesday" previously known as "60 Minutes II" which is supposedly almost entirely autonomous from the normal Sunday night "60 Minutes" program. This particular incident should not necessarily be tied to "60 Minutes" and its history - simply because the two shows are on the same network, and have similar names.


I'm an outsider here. I just visited the entry and it seems remarkably unflattering, especially when one considers that the program is the gold standard for TV investigative journalism. All the "incidents" portrayed should not be seen as indicative of the ultimate importance of the program to both American journalism and culture.

It should be completely revamped.

Sounds like an attempt to sugarcoat the history of the program. You can't hide such incidents. Just because the program is the supposed "gold standard" (a POV statement if I ever saw one) does not mean it isn't subject to criticism. The irony is that before that section was added (which has been the only major structural change), the article was thought to be coddling of 60 Minutes. —Joseph/N328KF (Talk) 14:30, 2005 Mar 10 (UTC)

The thing isn't well written, either. It reads like a smug blog entry. You get what you pay for, right?

Is the anonymous gentleman (or lady) going to substantiate their comments or continue flinging poo like a monkey in a zoo? —Joseph/N328KF (Talk) 14:50, 2005 Mar 23 (UTC)

There are glaring glosses that would never be allowed into a serious journalistic piece about anything, much less a program like "60 Minutes." Take, for example, the notion that the program seems to turn around stories that have already appeared in large mainline print journals and the televised images of corporate bigwigs running from the cameras. Or the unchallenged, unsupported contention that the program "attacks" conservative politicians.

Quantify this. How many stories were first published or aired in other media? When was the last time "60 Minutes" showed executives running from the camera? Who are these conservative politicians who have been attacked? Was there a compelling policy dispute that featured them? Have "liberal" politicians singled out the program for similar biases?

Also, "60 Minutes II" is not a program created or administered by the original producers of "60 Minutes." It's a different animal, albeit one with the same name. The correspondents aren't the same; the production team isn't the same. The only commonality seems to be that they are both housed in the same skyscraper and carry similar names.

Perhaps what's most unusual is that the program has won, apparently, 75 Emmy awards, and yet that's treated as somehow less relevant than three screw ups.

Actually, the Peabody Awards and Investigative Reporter & Editor medals are more prestigious. How many of those trophies did the program win? What years? For which exposes?

I just checked out the IRE website and quickly found two top prizes (in 1995 for a piece on organized crime and another on the fatal crashes of the Osprey helicopter). Both were singled out for being the first stories of their kind on a vital public policy issue, so it seems sometimes, maybe, the program airs original, critical and award-winning pieces no one else does, and that these stories don't involve executives running for cover.

But I'm just commenting. I'm not going to fix the thing.

Well, I'm not concerned with your assertations on the story as a whole as they do not seem to principally be about what is chiefly my section ("Notable incidents.") And it doesn't matter what stories showed up in other media as it was 60 Minutes who was the primary news outlet that popularized the stories in question. And I still resent the idea that we should ignore the problems with the show in favor of its supposed credentials. Anyhow, I find it interesting that you are posting these anonymous comments from a system belonging to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Circling the wagons? —Joseph/N328KF (Talk) 21:09, 2005 Mar 24 (UTC)

Yes, I work for a newspaper owned by the Tribune-Review publishing company, which, if you haven't noticed, has one of the most conservative opinion pages in the country and has savaged the 60 Minutes II program.

So, when someone like me points out how unfair this section is, perhaps one would take notice. I can't imagine that is "circling the wagons." I believe it is a professional sense of fair play for an august newsgathering organization.

Yes, the program has made mistakes. But through the years, I believe, the television news medium and American culture have been enriched by the magazine. I can't believe I'm alone in this assumption.

As for "anonymous," well, what is a "User N328KF/Joseph" nickname, if not anonymous?

Other observations

I've just done some tweaking of the sections involving 60 Minutes' Greatest Misses, and it occurs to me that, as others have noted, this article really needs some concrete examples of major journalistic successes that 60 Minutes has had. I mean, it's one thing to mention the 75 Emmy Awards at the top, and to say, "Many news organizations suffer from errors in reporting or judgement," before gleefully diving into recounting some of those errors; but one or two specific examples of the major stories that won them all of those awards would go a long way towards illustrating just why their occasional lapses have been so disappointing. I mean, face it: No one gets upset when the Weekly World News claims, erroneously (we hope), that JFK was an alien, or that Osama bin Laden is being hyponotically controlled by Satan using psychic mountain goats; if 60 Minutes didn't have an otherwise decent journalistic reputation, these incidents wouldn't have been particularly notable.

The second thing that struck me — for the fortieth time, now, at least — is that it really is high time that wiki had an article about Don Hewitt. It's downright silly seeing his name in red everywhere I look. --Ray Radlein 02:45, Mar 25, 2005 (UTC)


I'm reading to start rewriting the thing to better address the cultural and journalistic significance of the program. Anyone else agree?

Absolutely. This is one of those entries that's suffering from that phenomenon where the people who seem most interested in the entry are interested in its weaknesses. I think there's a place for that -- it is, after all, a controversial show that has made not insignificant missteps over the years -- but the show is also the most successful television newsmagazine (and, arguably, television show) ever and is awash in awards for its journalistic merit. The entry doesn't, at the moment, seem to translate that idea nearly as well as it could.Adbarnhart 22:13, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Redirecting to the same thing

I noticed that 60 Minutes II links to 60 Minutes again, it is not a significant fact, so I am just going to remove that link.

Family Guy reference

I believe the line that Lesley Stahl gives at the end of the 60 Minutes spoof is "...and one of you is hung like an elf," rather than "...and one of you smells." It's either "elf" or "elk," I forget which one, but I'm very close to sure it's "elf." I didn't edit it myself because a) I wanted to be 100% sure of the line and b) I wasn't sure how appropriate the line was for the subject matter of the article. Or maybe, it's a censored version of the show, I'm not sure.Andy 08:42, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

POV Problem

I agree with many of the posters here that the POV of this article is completely unacceptable. To read it you would think 60 minutes was a program that trows facts to the wind on a regular basis. If the controversy section is the remain (and there's no reason why it shouldn't)then a section on the positive noteworthy articles 60 minutes has done.

For the person who removed the POV marker, please read the above and the comments by Ray Radlein. Answer why this article has an entire section devoted to the shows failures and none to it's successes. Is that not bias? Please respond to that before removing the tag or theres just going to be a daily war of reversions.--65.2.69.93 03:43, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

It's simple. This article was slanted too far in a positive-POV direction, and so a Controversy section had to be added. If you think it's gone too far in the other direction, then add a section entitled 'Positive achievements' or something. I added what I know. You add what you know before complaining. —Joseph/N328KF (Talk) 23:28, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

A POV banner is not complaining. While I am a viewer, I am not an expert on the show. The POV banner is a call for people whoare experts tofix an article. --65.2.69.93 00:32, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Okay, I added an awards section (which could be expanded if anyone feels up to it). I also deleted a couple unsourced sentences that were POV. There is yet more POV in the Bush National Guard section, but I'll leave it to someone else for the moment. IronDuke 06:55, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

This is a good start, but the awards section needs to be expanded to cover as much detail per incident as the contreversy section. Otherwise we'll need to cut the latter down to the same type of quick blurbs.

I respectfully disagree. The criticism section doesn't contain a lot of detail -- it uses external links and other articles for that (possibly except for the section on the Killian forgeries.) Beef up the awards section, but don't cut down the criticism section. If we can't find enough awards data to balance things out, then that's fine...it's not our job to report as much positive as negative...it's just to be neutral. There are some subjects that simply have more positivity associated with them than negative, or vice-versa. —Joseph/N328KF (Talk) 17:29, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Awards section

I was just browsing the page and saw the NPOV tag for the first time. I definitely agree that if the article is to seem balanced, there needs to be descriptions of the "All in the Family," "The CIA's Cocaine," "Friendly Fire," and "The Osprey" pieces that won the show these awards, especially when there are 6 examples of "controversies," some with quite detailed descriptions. Even if balance were not a goal, I would at least want to know a little more about the shows 60 Minutes did win awards for, especially since I am probably too young to remember what any of them were. The preceding unsigned comment was added by 4.43.97.227 (talk • contribs) 07:47, 13 December 2005.

Journalistic balance is a bankrupt concept. It is nonsensical that for every good thing we must also include a bad thing, and vice versa. However, it does seem odd that we gloss over the awards and expand on the controversies. I've added some information on the awards; perhaps someone who knows more about 60 Minutes can reduce the paragraphs on the controversies down to just the bare essentials (one para per problem would be good). Also, I'm not really sure that the Viacom cross-promotion thing ought to be there: compared with altering cars to produce phony results, for example, it seems very small fry, just piling on for the sake of it. fuddlemark (fuddle me!) 03:07, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Clinton/Dole

As part of User:Michael Snow's excellent update/partial rewrite of the format section, he added this sentence: "The pair agreed to do ten segments, which were called "Clinton/Dole" and "Dole/Clinton" in alternating weeks, but did not continue into the fall season.". I just have one question, as a non-American: what the hell does that mean? fuddlemark (fuddle me!) 06:08, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Is the question about fall (also known as autumn)? In American television parlance, the year effectively starts in September/October. This is invariably called "the fall season", and there really isn't any other term to substitute for it, with apologies to the Australians. If something else is the issue, I'm not sure what exactly you're not understanding. --Michael Snow 17:11, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
I knew what "fall" meant (a silly America-only phrase for Autumn), no worries there. But I wasn't sure what "the fall season" meant. I had half a mind to change it away from "fall" (Americans should know what "Autumn" means, but not everyone knows "fall"), but given that I didn't know what you meant by it I felt a talkpage message would be better. Maybe if we had an article (or a section of an existing one?) on the phenomenon of the fall season, and linked it? fuddlemark (fuddle me!) 03:49, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
I did glance around to see if there was some existing article that covered this subject, and came up empty. Would specifying the "fall television season" at least help make the context slightly more apparent in the meantime? --Michael Snow 06:15, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Hey, y'all, I think the concerns mentioned about 4 places on this talk page, above, can be solved with a reformat of the "Controversies" section. Since the book I used has a list of some of the serious accomplishments of the show (actual indictments, legislation, etc. as a result of the program), I might take it upon myself, later tonight (USA East), to do the rewrite. Objections? Oh, and for this particular section's concern, my feeling, in defense of Michael Snow's wording, is that "Fall Season" is a compound in US television. While "autumn season" would be semantically equivalent, it would not be lexically equivalent, since "fall season" is nearly a hyphenated compound now. (I.e. we only know it as "the fall season," so American readers would be surprised and linguistically disoriented by "autumn season.") That said, it would be easy enough to say, "the following season" or "the following year" and get rid of the seasonal adjective altogether. Geogre 14:12, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Except, of course, that it wasn't the following calendar year. But go ahead, rewrite away. --Michael Snow 16:42, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
True. I'm not going to mess with that -- just the "controversies" section -- but "following season?" Apparently, "fall season" is an America-only thing. I certainly didn't know that before. Geogre 18:27, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Corporate Bias

Is there any way of checking the IP addresses to make sure CBS wonks aren't using this as advertising - and trying to put down the memory hole their screw up with Memogate?--Omnicog 18:36, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Kennewick Man Controversy

Has this been authoratatively confirmed as a controversy? The references are to a quote by the Umatilla Chiefs and a fairly balanced article in Time. As the saying goes you can't please everyone, there are bound to be detractors. I think to qualify as a controversy there has to be broad based objection (> 50% of the viewership) or a confirmed mistake. This seems like someone is objecting to the omission of a point of view by one side of the argument. This may be biased, but it is not a full blown controversy.--Omnicog 18:36, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

The controversy is large among anthropological circles, and is taught in antrho ethics/politics courses:
"On October 31, 1998, the CBS program 60 Minutes aired a 12 minute piece on the Kennewick Man. Those who saw the program were not happy with the errors and misconceptions propagated about the Kennewick Man burial. K. Kris Hirst, a project archaeologist at Louis Berger Associates, Inc., compiled the resources found at this site to provide a better understanding about the Kennewick Man and about the controversy that surrounds this issue. Hirst provides a list of columns, bibliographies, Web resources and other materials pertaining to the Kennewick Man." [1]. "Kennewick Man - Or how I learned to hate 60 Minutes" [2].
The story went beyond biased. It reported factually incorrect statements (which hadn't been reported prior, and was probably tacked on to spice up the story) about the Kennewick man case; specifically, it reported that trbies would lose (or were afraid to lose) their tribal rights if Kennewick man was found to be disassociated from Native Americans. The case was about interpetations of NAGPRA, which 60 minutes decided to avoid. Kennewick Man and NAGPRA has some information about what the controversy is actually about.
The Times article mentions some clarifications of Chatters' on the race issue. Chatters' was 60 minutes prime interviewee.
I've added another citation to the text [3], which explains, "Of course, as Stahl herself noted, 'The Indians say that's nonsense.' And the Indians are right: under the law, the claim that treaty rights and casinos depend on Native American's status as 'first peoples' is indeed nonsense." Stahl was the reporter and producer of the segment.

60 Minutes on Radio

In the San Francisco Bay Area, 60 Minutes is simulcast on the local CBS affiliated AM radio station KCBS. Is this true for any other CBS affiliated radio stations? If so, I think this should be mentioned in the article. --Cab88 11:24, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

As of October 29, 2006, an updated logo for the first time since at least the mid-80s has been used.