Lesley Stahl of CBS News is 80

60 Minutes for 30 years

Lesley Stahl
CBS News, 2018

I was watching 60 Minutes in November. Lesley Stahl was reporting on the mountain gorillas of Rwanda making a comeback. “Visiting mountain gorillas is no walk in the park. It’s an uphill hike for more than an hour at an altitude of 8000 feet, through that farmland that once belonged to the gorillas just to get to the park.

“Lesley Stahl: Are you out of breath?
Tara Stoinski: Yes. [LAUGHS]
Lesley Stahl: Or is it just me?”

And I thought that reporter must be close to 80! And she was. She must love the gorillas, which she first covered back in 1987.

It occurred to me that I had been watching Lesley Stahl for nearly half a century. As she noted in her 1999 book Reporting Live (1999), she, Connie Chung, and Bernard Shaw were the ‘affirmative action babies’ in what became known as the Class of ’72.” As such, she was assigned to cover, in June 1972, a “third-rate burglary” in the Watergate complex. Like Woodward and Bernstein at the Washington Post, the seemingly insignificant story really launched her career.

She was a White House correspondent during the presidencies of Carter, Reagan, and part of Bush 41. Also, she moderated the CBS Sunday morning program Face The Nation between September 1983 and May 1991.

Since March 1991, she’s been a correspondent for 60 Minutes. Thirty years is as long as Steve Kroft and the late Ed Bradley were on the show; only Morley Safer and Mike Wallace, both of whom started in 1968 are now deceased, were on longer.

Awards

Lesley Stahl received 13 Emmys, plus numerous other awards. One was for “a shocking 2015 report on how some police recruit vulnerable young people for dangerous jobs as confidential informants.” One was for a series based on her “unprecedented” access at Guantanamo Bay prison facilities. “Another [was] for an eye-opening story about China’s huge real estate bubble… She won her 13th Emmy for her interview with the widow of a slain hostage that offered a rare look inside the technically illegal process of negotiating with terrorists.”

Stahl has gotten the big interviews. Former National Security Council official Fiona Hill, Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, the then-new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and many, many more. She has managed to greatly annoy some of the powerful, including Trump (2020) and then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy (2007).

“She and her husband, author Aaron Latham, live in New York. They have a daughter, Taylor Latham, and two granddaughters. Jordan and Chloe, the subjects of her book, ‘Becoming Grandma: the Joy and Science of the New Grandparenting.'”

Journalist Jane Pauley turns 70

She’s hosted CBS Sunday Morning since October 9, 2016

Jane PauleyJane Pauley noted on the August 16, 2020 episode of CBS Sunday Morning the 20th anniversary of her bipolar depression. Her acknowledgment of the condition was unsurprising. She’d written about it, and other facets of her life, in a book called Skywriting. The diagnosis came “out of the blue,” part of the subtitle of the book.

On October 23, 2019, Jane had appeared on CBS This Morning’s special “Stop the Stigma” broadcast to discuss when she was first diagnosed in 2001. Incidentally, she hated the term “stigma.”

Like most people, I first saw Jane on the TODAY show on NBC. In fact, I swear that I watched her appearance in 1976, introduced by then co-anchor Tom Brokaw. After Brokaw left to anchor NBC Nightly News, she was paired with Bryant Gumbel from the beginning of 1982 to the end of 1989.

I regularly watched at least the first hour of the program. She also had other assignments, such as anchoring the Sunday edition of the Nightly News from 1980 to 1982.

NBC launched Dateline on March 31, 1992, Jane co-anchored the newsmagazine from the beginning to 2003 along with Stone Phillips. I viewed it occasionally, depending on the topic. Then I largely lost track of her.

The Eye

“On April 27, 2014, following an appearance during a ‘where are they now’ segment and interview on CBS Sunday Morning, Pauley began contributing to the show as a correspondent and occasional substitute host. Pauley has been a guest host on CBS This Morning and has also filled in for Scott Pelley on the CBS Evening News.”

I’ve been watching Sunday Morning since it first aired on January 28, 1979, with original host Charles Kuralt. When I first got a VCR, it and JEOPARDY! were the first programs I would record; ditto on the DVR. Charles Osgood was the host of the 90-minute program for 22 years, taking over from Kuralt on April 10, 1994.

When I heard Osgood was retiring, I knew there was only one logical replacement. Apparently, I wasn’t alone. “‘We first got to know Jane when we did a story about her on Sunday Morning,’ said Rand Morrison, the show’s executive producer, in a statement.

“‘Our viewers immediately responded by suggesting she belonged on Sunday Morning permanently. And – as is so often the case, they were right. She’s a dedicated, experienced broadcast journalist. But – every bit as important – she’s a delight to work with. A worthy successor – and a perfect fit.'”

The show has been hosted by Jane Pauley since October 9, 2016. Notably, she has interviewed fellow Indianians such as David Letterman and John Mellencamp. She also got an exclusive with Garry Trudeau, the creator of the newspaper comic strip Doonesbury on its 50th anniversary in 2018. It was an easy “get” since they’ve been married since June 14, 1980. They have three children and two grandchildren.

Still, though the topic of that personal piece she did a couple of months ago she’d discussed before, it was amazingly affecting. Jane Pauley turns 70 on October 31, the same birthday as the late John Candy.

July rambling: 45 es un titere

The Privilege of Being Normal

fake presidential sealWas American politics always this weird?

Lawyers, guns, and money.

The US Gave Slavers Their Land Back. What About Black Folks’ Reparations? and Slavery is also indefensible on economic grounds.

About the Mueller testimony.

Meet the man who created the fake presidential seal; his website.

Data Show Costly Trump Tax Cut Achieved Little

Britain’s New Prime Minister Is Nationalist, Racist and Vain. Sound Familiar?

The Moon Landing Hoax Theory Started as a Joke.

The First Responders, black paramedics in Pittsburgh

The Privilege of Being Normal.

I was a fast-food worker. Let me tell you about burnout.

How to Cancel Amazon Prime.

What is Regenerative Agriculture?

What John Paul Stevens inadvertently taught conservatives about the Supreme Court.

Elijah “Pumpsie” Green, the first black player on the Boston Red Sox, has died. He was 85. Green played parts of four seasons with the Red Sox and one with the New York Mets from 1959-63, batting .246 with 13 homers and 74 RBIs. But his place in history was made when he stepped on the field as a pinch-runner against the Chicago White Sox on July 21, 1959. The Red Sox were the last team in the major leagues to field a black player.

Safe Deposit Boxes Aren’t Safe.

Binghamton, NY: Valley of Creativity.

Ken Levine interview with director Jim Burrows, Part 1 and Part 2.

Can broadcast legend Susan Zirinsky save CBS News?

Basquiat x Warhol at The School in Kinderhook.

Martha My Dear.

Why Americans Just Can’t Quit Their Microwaves.

New Coke Didn’t Fail. It Was Murdered.

Carbon Copy

Fireworks with film at Saratoga.

Enough With Hamilton, Say Fans of Other Founding Fathers; Success of Broadway show steals limelight from Jefferson, Franklin and others; ‘not a lot of demand for James Madison’

The Evolution of Harley Quinn.

Now I Know: The Elephant With Empathy? and The $91-Per-Square-Foot Very Tiny Estate and The Great Saudi Beauty Pageant Scandal of 2018 and Why Isn’t This Tennis Ball Bouncing? and The Rainbow Grandpa Who Saved His Village and The Incredible Cause of Tasmanian Crop Circles and Why Do Bats Sleep Upside Down? (for AmeriNZ)

MUSIC

I’m Your Puppet – James and Bobby Purify.

Music from the new Lion King movie.

Indra by Gustav Holst.

Blue Bayou – Linda Ronstadt and the Muppets, recipients of the 2019 Kennedy Center Honors.

Coverville: 1269: Cover Stories for Suzanne Vega, Simple Minds and Soft Cell and 1270: The Trevor Horn Cover Story and 1271: The Hard Day’s Night Track-by-Track Album Cover.

Windows XP Waltz

K-Chuck Radio: How to enjoy a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack

Time’s Up: “Silence helps the tormentors”

“Neutrality helps the oppressors, not the oppressed.”

Jodi Kantor, New York Times
Beyond being gratified that the #MeToo/Time’s Up movement has come to pass, I have been fascinated how it seems to have really come together only in the past six months.

I’ve seen Jodi Kantor, one of the New York Times reporters along with Megan Twohey, who broke the Harvey Weinstein story, several times on TV, usually on CBS This Morning but also on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. And it was the Weinstein scandal, not only his reported illicit behavior but also the cover up, that unleashed the torrent of responses.

As Kantor has assessed the revolution: “My colleagues Emily Steel and Michael Schmidt had done the story about Bill O’Reilly, his long trail of settlements with women. That was a light bulb moment. Editors at the Times…ask[ed] the question, ‘Are there other prominent male figures in American life who have covered up serious problems with treatment of women?'”

And she sees how the momentum built. “You could make an argument that the women who came forward about [Bill] Cosby affected the women who came forward about the men at Fox News, who affected the women who came forward about President Trump, who affected the women who came forward about Silicon Valley, who affected the women who came forward about Harvey Weinstein,” who was less well known than the women who reported his actions.

A week after Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech – ““I want all the girls watching to know a new day is on the horizon” – she spoke to seven powerful Hollywood women for CBS Sunday Morning and explored how much pain some of them still have with their #MeToo experience.

Winfrey asked Reese Witherspoon, who had “spoken of being assaulted on one of her first movies, at age 16,” how speaking out has “led to a greater sense of empowerment and control over it?”

“Well, I don’t know if I’ve gotten to that place yet,” Witherspoon replied. “As you can see, I’m very emotional about it. But I keep going back to somebody sent me this Elie Wiesel quote that said, ‘Silence helps the tormentors, it doesn’t help the tormented. And neutrality helps the oppressors, not the oppressed.'”

America Ferrera had posted about an incident when she “was nine years old being assaulted by a man who I was then sort of forced to see afterwards for a long time. And what struck me about my experience was his certainty that I would be silent. And he was right. He was right for 24 years.”

TV producer Shonda Rhimes says what most of the women were saying: “At a certain point there has to be room for reconciliation in a world… But a lot of people don’t think that right now — and a lot of women have the right to not feel that right now.”

Men need to understand that when women have been aggrieved for a VERY long time – Ferrera put it well: “Speaking of this moment, as a culture we’ve gone from not listening, hearing or believing women, and how were we going to skip over the whole part where women get to be heard, and go straight to the redemption of the perpetrators? Can’t we live in that space where it’s okay for perpetrators to be a little bit uncomfortable with what the consequences will be?”

I suppose this kind of sucks for men. But the status quo for women has sucked far, far longer.

Jena Friedman on Conan O’Brien’s show

Women on the morning news

I didn’t quit watching the TODAY show until Ann Curry, promoted from being the long-time newsreader, was forced out in 2012


Watching CBS News This Morning on Monday, December 4, Norah O’Connell and Gayle King were joined for the week by frequent contributor Bianna Golodryga, who was the chief reporter in the announcement of the suspension, and later firing, of that program’s Charlie Rose in November 2017, and also detailed the firing a week later of NBC’s TODAY show anchor Matt Lauer. Both men subsequently apologized for sexually inappropriate behavior.

The first story on the 4 December morning news was about the Mueller probe into Russian interference in US politics, as reported by Margaret Brennan, who shares the White House beat with chief White House correspondent Major Garrett. Then justice correspondent Paula Reid reported on a guy removed from that investigation.

Chief Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes spoke about the tax bill the Senate passed, with reporter Juliana Goldman noting what was necessary to be reconciled between the House and Senate versions. Business analyst Jill Schlesinger broke down the possible impact of the legislation.

Jericka Duncan reported on the possible CVS/Aetna merger. After the local news break, Meg Oliver talked about the return of a runaway teen to her family.

There wasn’t a single male reporter until about 40 minutes in, when Ben Tracy, foreign correspondent, described preparations in case of a war with North Korea. I’m not sure this was just a happy accident.

With the two high-visibility morning-show men brought down by complaints of sexual impropriety, I wonder if CBS News was making a statement about how capable their women on-air talent is.

CNN noticed that It’s all women this week on ‘Today’ and ‘CBS This Morning’.

I had watched The TODAY show on NBC way back in the days of Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters in the late 1960s; to Tom Brokaw and Jane Pauley, the current host of CBS News Sunday Morning; to Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric.

I didn’t quit watching until Ann Curry, promoted from being the long-time newsreader, was forced out in 2012, with what was generally understood to be the acquiescence of Lauer, who, was at his firing, the longest-serving TODAY host ever, with 20 years service. He won’t get paid the rest of the $20 million contract.

Curry, meanwhile, is getting a new gig on PBS. And speaking of PBS, it announced ‘Amanpour’ as the interim replacement for Charlie Rose on its late night schedule, Christiane Amanpour’s existing program on CNN International.

Who might replace Lauer on TODAY’s first two hours? It’s unlikely to be Megyn Kelly, now on the show’s third hour, who came over from FOX News, another network rocked by a sexual harassment scandal against former host Bill O’Reilly, and earlier, the former Fox News chairman, the late Roger Ailes.

It is likely that model of older, established male and younger, generally pretty, female co-host is going to get shaken up on the morning news programs. Of course, some folks will complain about the “feminiazation” of the time slot, which early on was, with the exception of the “weather girl”, “men’s work.”

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial