Time's "Ten Questions" feature is wasted this week on CBS "60 Minutes" hound Mike Wallace. I'm not saying Wallace isn't worth interviewing, but Time managing editor James Kelly gives him a complete book-promoting walk in the park. He doesn't ask about the latest Wallace gaffe in the news, his appearance at an anti-gun Brady Center fundraiser.



Recalling how Watergate “didn't take off until people started talking about higher ups” in the White House, on Tuesday night’s The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, CBS’s Lesley Stahl predicted that the Valerie Plame case “could possibly take off the way the Watergate one did." Stahl fondly remembered how Watergate “really took off as a big story when it went into the Senate and there were hearings held by the opposition party.” That, she dejectedly noted, “isn't likely to happen in this case" given GOP control of both houses of Congress. When Stephen Colbert, a veteran of Comedy Central’s Daily Show, whimsically pointed out on the second night of his new 11:30pm EDT/PDT show that “if you look at the issues, Nixon was a pinko. I mean, it was education and stopping the draft and women's rights and the environment. I mean, he was the boogie man at the time. But he's way to the left of John Kerry," Stahl disagreed and credited (or is it blamed?) Reagan for moving America to the right: "I wouldn't say that necessarily. But the whole country shifted right ever since Reagan. Reagan really moved us off to the right." A resigned Stahl soon added: "The center of the country has definitely shifted to the right. And there we sit." She didn’t seem pleased about it.

Full transcript of the exchange follows.



Cam Edwards, a talk-radio host at NRANews.com, drew out CBS Public Eye facilitator Vaughn Ververs on the subject of "60 Minutes" star Mike Wallace appearing at a $250-a-pop fundraiser (and birthday party for political humorist Art Buchwald) for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Ververs took that question to Wallace and CBS senior vice president for standards Linda Mason.



     Even when journalists try, they just don’t understand Middle America. CBS proved the point with a story on the multi-billion dollar business of NASCAR. Even in a story made possible by the enormous success of the sport, CBS’s “60 Minutes” depicted racing promotions as “hucksterism” and advertisers as “not wholesome” while the product itself was portrayed as an “good ol’ boy Southern Confederate flag sport” hostile to minorities.



60 Minutes on Sunday featured correspondent Bob Simon interviewing Elian Gonzalez. In his piece, we learn that Castro's cameraman/propagandist Roberto Chile helped Simon produce the interview.

Bob Simon: "Elian's arrival in Cuba seemed designed for a conquering hero. And here he was without his two front teeth.

Simon: "Elian embarked on a two-month tour of Cuba, all recorded by Castro's personal cameraman, Roberto Chile, who helped us on our story, too. Chile was rolling the first time Elian met Fidel.


Somebody took the leash off Andy tonight! Andy Rooney was in rare form! Not that this will be a shock to anyone, but Andy Rooney attacked the Bush Administration tonight. I thought CBS was going to have a new culture after the embarassment from Rathergate? I thought CBS, "60 Minutes", etc, were going to work on a new culture on reporting the truth with their news segments? Obviously, this does not apply with Andy.


Roy Hallums, the American hostage rescued September 7, 2005 appeared on 60 Minutes to discuss how life was when he was held captive and when he returned home. Lesley Stahl conducted the interview and tried ever so hard to get Roy to give an anti-Bush remark.

STAHL: Has anyone from our government called you, like our President?
HALLUMS: No
STAHL: Senator?
HALLUMS: No
STAHL: Congressman?
HALLUMS: No
STAHL: Noone?



Tonight (Sunday, September 18, 2005), 60 Minutes aired a segment entitled "Life in Baghdad," hosted by Scott Pelley and produced by Shawn Efran. The story was nothing but the bleakest of portraits of life in the city of Baghdad. The story? Violence, fear, despair: repeat.

However, unless you were paying close attention to Pelley's introduction to the story, you may have missed the fact that the segment originally aired nearly one year ago (On 60 Minutes II, October 6, 2004)! ("Last fall," as host Pelley put it.)



Sunday's 60 Minutes closed, as usual, with a crabby commentary by everyone's favorite curmudgeon, Andy Rooney. His kvetch of the week had to do with how much people incessantly using cell phones annoys him.

Now, perhaps in a spirit of corporate synergy, today's Against the Grain column by CBS News's Dick Meyer happens to be about how much people incessantly using cell phones annoys him.

At one point Myers defensively insists:

Contrary to what you undoubtedly think by now, this column is much, much more than just a misanthropic, Luddite rant by a cranky middle-aged white man. This is a genuine public service.

I'm sure Rooney tells himself the same thing, except for the "middle-aged" part.



Not an instance of bias, but a touch of humor: The Late Late Show's host Craig Ferguson gently ribbed his network's entertainment and news lineup during his opening monologue last night/this early morning, scoring laughs off the tedium of CBS's 60 Minutes by comparing that show to braving long lines at theme parks.