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May 18, 2005

Your 60 Minutes Are Up

With CBS canceling the viewer-allergic Wednesday edition of 60 Minutes, James Joyner couldn't resist a parting shot:

Moonves' claims that the scandal that brought down Dan Rather was "not even slightly" to blame for this is ludicrous. The show and its lead anchor were permanently associated with the forgery and for its embarrassing failure to admit to its shoddy reporting for weeks after it became obvious what had happened. A news program simply can not exist without believability.

Huh. "Ludicrous". Well, speak of the devil. Does James really think that Dan Rather and 60 Minutes have lost all credibility in the eyes of the viewing public? I mean, really think that? I'm sure they've tumbled in the eyes of many a right wing blogger and partisan but, let's be honest, who hasn't? And I know this'll prove my ignorance or bias or something, but when I heard the show was being canceled, I didn't even connect it to Rather. I had no idea that's where the documents were mentioned. Eight months after a scandal I paid some sort of attention to, you couldn't have paid me to tell you where it happened (I actually thought it was on CBS's evening news program).

So I, who had a blog during that whole period and devoted a fair number of posts to the scandal and even got quoted in USA Today for my comments on the story had totally forgotten that the Wednesday edition of 60 Minutes was the site of Napoleon's Powerline's great victory. And if I've forgotten, you can probably bet that the mental monologue of most folks isn't "Well, I'd like to watch an educational and informative program on CBS, but they did that documents thing and now I can't believe and oh hey Lost is on!" So apologies to James whose writing I like, but I'm having a fair bit of trouble with this bit of triumphalism.

But maybe I'm wrong, atypical, out of touch. So I went off and found some numbers. Back in September, when this was all very fresh in people's minds, a majority of Americans thought CBS made "an honest mistake". 62% thought Rather should keep his job. 55% thought CBS reported the news accurately, compared to 51% who thought the media in general did the same. I know "Rathergate" was a very, very, very big deal for bloggers, but it just wasn't that damning of an indictment in the minds of most Americans. And if they didn't hate Rather and CBS when they knew what had happened, you think that now, nine months later, they're flipping over to Lost because CBS didn't and couldn't win back their trust?

Give me a break.

May 18, 2005 | Permalink

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» Bloggers Win! Bloggers Win! from Pandagon
James Joyner, who has apparently decided that credibility is not his bag, pretty much sticks his neck out to be the asshole that leads the other assholes through the Forest of Wrong. Moonves' claims that the scandal that brought down... [Read More]

Tracked on May 18, 2005 3:10:27 PM

» CBS Cancels Wednesday '60 Minutes' from Outside The Beltway
CBS has announced it is cancelling the Wednesday edition of "60 Minutes," the "news" program infamous for using faked documents to prove that George W. Bush was AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard in the early 1970s. CBS Cancels Wednesday ... [Read More]

Tracked on May 18, 2005 5:04:31 PM

» WIRELESS TOYZ from Toyz Shop
Customers want to shop the leader - a store that has a proven record with thousands of customers across the nation. Wireless Toyz represents almost every ... [Read More]

Tracked on May 24, 2006 9:31:52 PM

Comments

I wouldn't argue that the documents scandal helped Dan in any way. Who cares why his ratings are off? Dan needed to go.

Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | May 18, 2005 1:06:15 PM

Does winning this argument actually mean anything? Does it matter why it's being pulled? Aren't you spuriously awarding 5 more minutes on top of the 60?

Posted by: Nash | May 18, 2005 2:05:45 PM

well, that's the effects of a misspent youth or a faulty memory or something because I _dont_ blog and I didn't make several posts about it and didn't particularly follow it 'avidly' but I sure remember it was on 60 Mins Wed and how miffed the main 60 Mins staff was at its bastard stepchild for besmirching the brandname. Pay more attention or take notes, or even GTFTG if your memory is that faulty. I think the vast majority of plugged in surfers remember very well. That said, who didn't know this was coming. Mooves has hinted at it from the get-go.

Posted by: puppets | May 18, 2005 2:53:44 PM

Ezra,

This isn't blog triumphalism. Indeed, I don't mention blogs in the post. Most people know that Dan Rather was involved in a scandal wherein they aired forged documents and then stonewalled when the truth came out, even if they're very fuzzy on the details.

I don't disagree, either, that the show was apparently having all manner of other problems even before the scandal. But Moonves' claim that the scandal had ZERO to do with it is, well, ludicrous.

Posted by: James Joyner | May 18, 2005 4:49:11 PM

GTFTG?

As for how much the scandal had to do with the program's cnacellation, I'm not sure it had effect all, or even any at all. In any case, however, you said "a news program can not continue to exist without its believability". Unless you were making a general point about a hypothetical news program lacking in believability, you had to be saying that 60 Minutes was dead because of the memo's issue. It's that contention that I'm rebutting.

And your update is correct -- I actually read you every day, and don't dislike you a bit. When I move to DC next Fall, we should get a drink.

Posted by: Ezra | May 18, 2005 5:15:37 PM

Those poll numbers on what people thought of 60 Minutes at the time are meaningless. The average Joe doesn't have an opinion on that sort of thing when somebody calls and asks, He makes one up on the spot, hits the remote and gets back to the poker tournament. All the important decisions are made at the corporate level where elites test the wind. Rather was beginning to stink like a corpse rotting in the sun and it rubbed off on the former Tiffany Network's formerly acclaimed top news program. So they axe it and say it had nothing to do with Rathergate. What are they supposed to do -- admit it?

Posted by: Jerry | May 18, 2005 5:41:48 PM

This thread is why they invented e-mail.

Posted by: Nash | May 19, 2005 8:51:29 AM

you're an asshole as is dan rather. i stopped watching 60 minutes and would never even consider watching it again, even if it was the last show on tv. It's now 2007 and people ahve not returned to watch a bunch of rotten fucking LIARS. FUCKING LIARS!

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