"60 Minutes" Producer Denies Liberal Bias With "Slant In The Eye of the Beholder" Line

Few shows have shown more of an anti-Bush, anti-conservative slant than CBS's "60 Minutes." (See this report on their complete Bush v. Kerry one-sidedness in 2004.) But that doesn't mean CBS people will admit it. CBS's "Public Eye" site has a question and answer feature called "10 Plus 1," which is ten questions from Public Eye staffers and one from the public. Today, the interviewee was "60 Minutes" producer Andy Court, and the inquiry was "a (slightly edited) question from reader Chester W." (Oh, to see the original):

Q. "60 Minutes" has a long standing tradition in seeking out the facts on stories that greatly effect public opinions in the world. Have you ever considered investigating the "60 Minutes" staff (or other news outlets like yours) to see if there really is a slant towards the democrats left wing policies?

A. We’ve never hesitated to investigate stories that we thought were misreported, or writers/reporters who betrayed their readers’ trust. The question of political bias (left-wing or right-wing) is a much more difficult thing to investigate. Part of the problem is that “slant” is in the eye of the beholder. We’ll do a story, and some of the viewers will write saying, “You left-wing liberal bums got it all wrong once again.” And then there’ll be other mail, for the exact same story, that says, “You right-wing patsies bought the administration’s line hook and sinker. This kind of thing happens all the time.

I know why you’re asking this question, and I am not trying to belittle your concern. But I want you to know we really try hard to get it right. We work long hours, poring over documents, talking to people on the phone. And if we don’t get it right, it’s usually not because of the “slant” that you’ve talking about, it’s because there’s something we weren’t told, something we were not able to see. Remember, we’re dealing with reality here. It’s messy and complicated and there are things that everyone believes to be true but maybe they’re not. One minute you’re looking for a man’s grave. The next minute, you’re talking to him.

This ending refers to an earlier answer, that in looking for the casualties of Clinton's odd bombing of a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, he was directed to the "dead man" in the bombing, who wasn't dead.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis