Don Hewitt, who founded "60 Minutes" and changed the trajectory of journalism in America, died this week at the age of 86. Brooke spoke with him in 2001 and so this week we replay that interview.
I had a cousin, George Murray, who worked for the "other side" though the disclosure of a Vietnam spy inside the Don Hewitt organization, an assistant to Morey Safer, might blur distinctions. He was an Army Captain in Korea that worked making films for the DOD after serving in NYC, landed a job in the film-editing room at NBC, and when the director for "Huntley & Brinkley" was out sick, filled in and became their regular director and later award winning producer for NBC according to noted author and television journalist Edwin Newman. A short contract was not renewed and his last work in TV was producing the coverage for CBS of both parties Presidential conventions of 1976.
George Murray died while in Mexico City, with his wife, an Avon executive, and Mr. Newman, at his eulogy in the U.N. Chapel, reread a letter he had to send to reporters in then South Vietnam, working at risk and peril, gathering the "soldier's view" of what became known as the "Vietnam debacle" their work had been canceled by "higher ups". Also called "Madison Avenue's war", since it was never declared by Congress, the entire CBS company (and others?) was sued for its news department's report by General Westmoreland, over allegations of "body count" manipulations in a post "debacle" news retrospective, command then held by the general.
It was quite an "irony" that the spy had eluded detection by Don Hewitt, whose excellent reports at "60 Minutes" helped define a new generation of news reporting.
So, a fawning and dated interview with Don Hewitt but nary a mention of the passing of Robert Novak. Thank God there's no political bias in NPR and OTM.
I had the life-changing pleasure of working with Don Hewitt for over six years. He was a living example of a man who lived his life to the fullest. He used each moment as an opportunity to teach us something. What an incredible educator he was, and we all knew it. He was celebrated in life and will always be remembered.
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On The Media is funded, in part, by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation,
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