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CBS has aired “60 Minutes” since 1968. For much of those 55 years, the Sunday program held prestige over its news competitors. The show featured distinctive investigation, exclusive information, and industry-leading journalism.
But, today, the program hardly differs from the rest of the television industry. The show rarely uncovers proprietary information and relies extensively on the reshuffled talking points of its peers.
Sunday, “60 Minutes” aired an interview with Prince Harry in a tabloidization of a news hour. And near the episode’s end, the program ran a 60-second op-ed chastising the House GOP.
Correspondent Lesley Stahl lectured Americans during the bit that the debate over House speaker was an “embarrassing” mark on the history of the United States.
“The historic chaos in the House of Representatives this past week embarrassed not only a party, but an entire nation,” Stahl declared of California Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy winning the bid on Jan. 7 after five days of debate.
“A small minority blocked the House from electing a leader, or even swearing in its own members,” the host went on.
“But if members of the incoming majority party can’t bring themselves to support a new leader,” Stahl added, “then one wonders what happens when Congress faces tough decisions on budgets, taxes, defense or raising the debt ceiling: actually governing.”
The debate over the speaker was historic, worthy of a “60 Minutes” report.
However, the program didn’t report on the matter or interview subjects of various viewpoints. Again, the program promoted Harry’s upcoming memoir instead. Yet, the show ended with a primetime-style monologue calling the GOP an embarrassment to the nation.
In the past, the program would have explored why the 20 rebels fought McCarthy’s speakership, given them a chance to respond, and provided their side as well as the other.
Previously, CBS may have considered that congress is meant to debate issues and better policies. And that a five-day standoff is hardly the damage to the future of the party that critics proclaim, particularly at a time when it takes a week to count votes during an election.
Unfortunately, in 2022, the program could only bring itself to declare the “past week an [embarrassment] not only [to the] party but [to an] entire nation.”
The fall of “60 Minutes” was perhaps best on display in 2020, when it aired a deceptive smear of Gov. Ron DeSantis. The program accused DeSantis of a pay-for-play with the grocery chain Publix. The episode claimed he funneled the state’s coronavirus vaccines to rich, white communities and gave a contract to distribute the vaccines to Publix.
But, in a nod to fellow corporate media outlets, the show edited a response from DeSantis that explains that the chain was ready to distribute vaccines while its competitors were not.
OutKick sold “60 Minutes of Lies” T-shirts in honor of the broadcast. DeSantis liked the design:
For a more humorous example of the show’s demise, OutKick’s Joe Kinsey documented a recent episode in which CBS warned of mass extinction of the population:
“In a teaser for Sunday’s show, 60 Minutes fear-porno reporter Scott Pelley interviews some unidentified scientist who says Earth is heading for a reckoning and it’s going to happen in just a short 20 years. Now, because 60 Minutes is in the business of making money, we don’t learn anything more than this big 20 years, and then it’s over prediction.”
“To put this in perspective for OutKick readers who typically think of things in sports contract length, we’re talking about mass extinction soon after Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez completes his contract that runs through 2035. Just imagine the fear porn in 2035 when we’re just seven years from it all ending for life as we know it on Earth.”
No wonder CBS is getting its hit pieces now. Time is of the essence.
The fall of “60 Minutes” embodies the state of the national media: fading, gasping for air as credibility rapidly wanes.
The state of the program is certainly more of an “embarrassment to the nation” than lawmakers debating the best speakership for a mere few days.