Karl Rove Details Grievances of CBS's '60 Minutes' In New Book

Courage and Consequence Cover | NewsBusters.orgOn April 13, I reported on CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft complaining about the fact that Dick Cheney and Karl Rove have refused to appear on the program. I pointed to recent instances of 60 Minutes smearing both men as a possible cause of their unwillingness to be guests and found that one of those examples was referenced by Rove in his new book, Courage and Consequence.

On February 24, 2008, 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley did a story on a bizarre conspiracy theory in which an Alabama lawyer named Dana Jill Simpson accused Rove of engineering the political downfall and imprisonment of the state's former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman. In Chapter 34 of his book, entitled "Rove: The Myth," pages 506-507, Rove describes his reaction to Pelley airing the piece: "I was flabbergasted that Pelley had bought her [Simpson's] story. His producers had called me about Simpson the previous October. I told them I had never met the woman or worked with her in any campaign or capacity."

Rove went on to note: "It struck me as odd that five months later, Pelley did not call to say that 60 Minutes was going with the story and that he wanted to give me a chance to tell my version." Rove also explained his efforts to reach out to Pelley after the segment aired: "[I] stewed about it for several weeks before calling Pelley on March 31 to list all the ways I thought he had failed to exercise due diligence. While cordial, Pelley was unresponsive. So I followed up with a letter on April 2, summarizing my concerns....In a letter two weeks later, Pelley answered virtually none of my questions."

On the April 7 60 Minutes broadcast, Pelley updated the story, taking credit for Siegelman being released on appeal by a federal court. Pelley even spoke with the freed former Governor and at the end of the update, briefly noted: "Rove declined to appear before the House Committee investigating the case, but he told us, quote, 'I never talked to the Department of Justice about Siegelman. I never talked to anyone at the White House about Siegelman.'" Of course, Rove had denied any involvement before, but Pelley didn't bother to mention that in the February 24 broadcast.  

So not only was 60 Minutes willing to air the questionable story, but when Rove contacted Pelley to discuss the matter, he was given the brush off. It doesn't sound like CBS was all that eager to get Rove's side of the story.  

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is the Senior News Analyst for MRC