The Art of the Ambush

Friday, June 26, 2009


Legendary producer Lowell Bergman worked for "60 Minutes" for nearly fifteen years. He describes the ambush interview's surprising origins and thorny legal history. He also explains why reporter Mike Wallace eventually stopped using the technique.

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Comments [5]

Lou from America

*Let us not even begin to talk about Michael Moore...*

I'm waiting for the peice on Michael Moore's unfair interview practices and unfair ambush interviews.

Will I see a critical piece on Michael Moore on OTM?

Probably not. But I guess he doesn't get under your skin like Fox News does.

Jun. 29 2009 10:41 PM
Bill Asbury from Dallas, Texas


I can't deny my disappointment with the Ambush story on Sunday. At best it seemed churlish.

I am clearly a conservative and though O'reilly has his faults, without the presence of Fox News, we would have no voice at all.

A year ago or so, I attended a dedication hosted by Bob Schieffer (whom I admire) at TCU in Fort Worth (his Alma Mater). The captains of the three major networks and Bill Keller were there. FOX News was on my mind the entire evening only because of their conspicuous absence.

Modern media, as it is organizationally structured today, has let us down. They are to be our impartial eyes and ears but they have become compromised voices of the political parties.

Jun. 29 2009 10:51 AM
Marc from Boston

I get the message.

You go after the republican, Westin, for his complaints of a liberal media bias. You make fun of the Bush administration for their avoidance of the term torture. You go after Bill O’Reilly for ambush interviews. Then you give a pass to 60 minutes because their cause was good. There’s no mention that torture may be effective. And there’s no challenge of the opinions or actions at all for Alicia Shephard or John Cook (other than a criticism that Cook wasn’t good at what you think is sleazy).

Clearly, there’s no media bias at OTM.

BTW, I’m against torture and think that’s the right word for waterboarding. I’m for single payer health care. And I didn’t vote for Bush or McCain. But I’d also like to see some journalistic integrity. I’m a bit of a dreamer.

Jun. 29 2009 08:30 AM
Alex from Brooklyn NY

It is my understanding that In the lead up to the IRAQ war Fox-News ambushed the Iraqi ambassador at the UN every day and the only point was to show the reporter asking the propaganda question of the day with some relevant background footage …
I never watched FOX I don’t own a TV set… can you verify this for me??

Jun. 28 2009 11:12 AM
Nancy Oteri from Belmont, MA

I'm a true fan. I listened this morning to "The Art of the Ambush;" it had everything going for it until I heard the former 60 Minutes producer make a claim that just didn't ring true.

When he claimed that Bill O'Reilly "isn't interested in the other side of the story," he didn't make it clear that he was talking about the "ambush" segments. And, just when was Mike Wallace interested in the other side of the story when he ambushed his target? Isn't the idea to be judge and jury in such an exercise? Let us not even begin to talk about Michael Moore...

Overall, I guess the piece was about the future of broadcasting, and the news business. While O'Reilly's viewers know he's not a journalist, and don't expect "balance," listeners to network tv news are expecting balance and are not getting it. Who's the bad guy here?

Jun. 28 2009 10:43 AM

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