tv Charlie Rose PBS November 17, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
>> rose: welcome to the program. tonight an inside look at america's most honored television news program. part one of a two part conversation with jeff fager, the executive producer of "60 minutes." his book is called 50 years of "60 minutes" the inside story of television's most influential broadcast. >> if you ask me what a worry about it's just that we get caught up in the television business the way typical chasing ratings. when that happens, it goes against what we are about. and what's interesting about that dynamic is that we don't pander to particular oddances but we're by far the most wanted television show in america. >> rose: 50 years of "60 minutes" when we continue.
>> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: jeff fager is here, he's the executive producer of "60 minutes." this year marks the 50th anniversary of the cbs broadcast. the news show was created in 1968. it's won 20 peabody awards. fager has written a to book about the history of the legendary program. it is called 50 years of "60 minutes" the inside story of
television's most influential broadcast. here's a look at "60 minutes" over the past 50 years. >> good evening. this is "60 minutes." >> where did it come from. >> it's a kind of magazine for television. >> congressman, steve kroft with "60 minutes." >> i don't want to do "60 minutes." >> i stopped the interview. >> asked him some questions. >> i'm scott pelley from "60 minutes." >> oh, great. >> i want to ask you about the twitting. >> you're not very popular in the country right now, to be frank -- >> you're right. >> i don't care what they say. >> mr. president, they're not happy with the way you're doing your job. >> this is a tough business. >> why is it taking so long
>> right here across the bridge you can see the black flag of isis. >> this is what you can expect from mosul. >> yes. >> most people think you are the face of the earth. >> i'm going to jail for that. >> only the bad ones go to jail. >> only the stupid ones go to jail. >> you must have known. >> i trusted him. >> hamilton certainly changes my life. >> you want to talk about sex. >> 60 swinging minutes. >> you can drive. >> how did you get around that.
>> that's a damn good question. >> you have no problem asking that question. >> i'm asking because i'm seeking an answer. >> come on. >> come on. >> come on. >> seriously how do you do it. >> that's an excellent question. >> i know. >> what's the answer. >> "60 minutes." >> "60 minutes." >> "60 minutes." >> >> i'm aike wallace, i'm harry ruiz nurse, i'm morley safer, i'm dan rather, i'm an prodly, i'm steve kroft, i'm lesley stahl, i'm bob simon, i'm scott pelley, i'm charlie rows, i'm lara logannen, i'm anderson cooper, i'm oprah winfrey. i'm bill whitaker. tonight 50 years of "60 minutes." >> rose: so pleased to have as good a friend as a man can is a jeff fager back at this table. welcome. >> thanks charlie, good to be here. >> rose: 50 years. >> that's something, isn't it to see all that. >> rose: it is a chronicle of
our time. how did you go about writing the book. >> i think the most important par was actually a list of stories. i think you can give it to any loyal viewer and they would recognize stories as you look at a list. there's 5,000 of them. so i have amazing help from tanya simon who is just a fabulous producer, daughter of bob simon, knows the broadcast well and worked with me closely on a chronology. then it really was about memories and about the thoughts that i really hope that this could be a book for journalism students. so all of the different things that we do, all of the practices and values that we could adhere to for all these years, i tried to get that in there so it's a bit of a blue print for i think part of our success. >> rose: talk about the birth of "60 minutes." >> it was hard to get it off the ground. >> don hewitt came up with this idea and he couldn't sell it. it took him several years to sell it. >> rose: the idea was. >> the idea was a live magazine
for television. a magazine that curs a combination of what he was calling high moral and low moral. an interview with the president, the same broadcast in an interview with a movie star. >> rose: in the same way edward murrow would do on one hand migrant workers and around -- on the other hand the conversation with a movie star. >> like you do charlie rose. >> rose: yes. >> morley did it. you have to have the ability to do any identify do of story although everybody does it in a slightly different way with different strengths they bring to the table. but don, he couldn't sell it and he got rose
to the peak, cbs news with walter cronkite. at that point you're talking about 15, 16, 17 million viewers a night. it was huge. >> rose: if you were a nt to be, a correspondent for the cbs evening news. >> that was it. this was the highest place you could be. so don was fired because fred friendly was president, one of the founders of our organization. >> rose: partner of edward murrow. >> yes, they were partners. they are founding fathers really. don watched them and learned from them. and brought, he was a creature of new thing television. and they weren't that interested in television. they thought they had to be. >> rose: they were in radio. >> they were in radio. >> rose: the murrow boys came out of london and radio and they were rhodes scholars. >> yes. they had to assemble these people, the murrow boys. that's how the organization was born. and it was born and it was given the values and you know, the
practices that storytelling how we're going to tell our stories, we're going to tell them in narrow ways, all of thing we talk about that i read about in the book that don thought us. bite time fred friendly became president and he found don hewitt in the big job, flag ship broadcast, walter cronkite, he said i don't want him there, he's too much of a showman. not enough of this kind of murrow boy. don knew he wasn't a murrow boy. >> rose: he admired them. >> they were news gods, he really did. >> rose: he was a broadway producer type. >> but he called them correspondents. he looked up to them so much. it was a shock because he had been the director of the nixon kennedy debate the first one. >> rose: when he was 37 years old. >> he was young and on fire. he had been a pioneer of television. and so the idea that he rose to that level the boss at the cbs evening news and then got fired.
it was a shock. >> rose: it is said that fred friendly called him in and we're going to promote you your own documentary unit. he calls his wife and said i just got promoted. >> you've been fired. >> rose: he was on the wilderness then. >> he didn't like the documents. he called them hour long snooze stories because he was bored by them. he had a short attention span and he was write. that's how he came up with the idea. he could do shorter stories three of those documentaries cut them down to 15 minutes, put them into one hour and showed it around and finally, after fred friendly left the organization, dick came in, a fred president of cbs news for 17 years. and he was reluctant at first. in fact he said no to it at a
previous iteration. someone said to him friendly at any time really like this idea. you might want to do it. and he said okay, gave it the go ahead. >> rose: a hair harry ruizener signed on. >> a lot thought mike wallace could sign on it. i describe it in the book lengthen meeting mick carnii. they were also look this a little bit. >> rose: how did they differ? >> well, in terms of the personalities as journalists, mic, it was all about the interview as you know charlie. and he had been in a very prominent place on a new york talk show where he perfected that. toking the tough questions. the famous parody someone sweating.
i think cid cesar did that short of direct approach. don who had a vision for the broadcast and really was a great editor and a very good writer. people dope realize this about him. he would fix our copy and he would write and help us with lines. he had an amazing eye for a story. that mix of the two of them i think just had an imprint on that prod cast. and i think it's a huge part of the success but i it didn't start to take off until about seven years. >> rose: morley safer came in after harry reasoner. >> harry decided to go to abc and don he thought kuralt was good because he was the consummate story story and don thought he needed a veteran from cbs news. to tell a story and be a
counter, almost a white hat to mike's black hat. and carl said no, he had it made. he could do whatever he want. >> rose: he worked the evening news with walter cronkite. >> in london an even bigger job. morley had murrow's desk in london. he was the bureau chief in london. he had famously covered the war in vietnam brilliantly and got in trouble about it in the white house because morley captured soldiers fighting. >> rose: they burned the vinc to save it. >> the line that johnson used what is he some kind of communist. no, he's canadian. >> rose: johnson said -- >> get him fired; is that right that explains it. >> they want to fire him. >> rose: what makes mike wallace's interviews so compelling. u don't trust whites, you said so. you don't trust jews, you've
said so. well, here i am. >> you know charlie, he said it best here was one of the things. right here on your program which was that -- >> rose: that he did. i think i've got it here somewhere. >> if you do, it's great because it's so instructional i think in terms of how to get the truth out of people. >> rose: here's what he said. with good research you could embarras anybody, make anybody squirm. you could do it. but if you are really after illumination of an interview, ease, character, qualities, substance, texture. if you're really after that, you can ask very pointed questions. as sensible questions to get them to talk. you can establish which you do so well a chemistry of confidentiality what comes
across the table. which you dirty dog you have done on a couple occasions over the past. and you said things i had no speech of saying. why? because you're two people who know a little bit about the same subject. if the interviewee has respect for the interviewer and the interviewer knows a good deal and is well prepared you can ask anything and you'll find the interviewee will be a co-conspirator with you. >> he said that that night in that broadcast. >> rose: at this table. i treasure it because he said it at this table and because he was a hero of mine and because when i came to "60 minutes" he handed me a handwritten note and he was so happy. >> this is the mature mike wallace. this is the mike wallace who has been out there doing it who was ambushing people in the 70's and
early 80's and i think became ashamed of that a bit. and really perfected it and became the best interviewer that broadcaster had known. he recognized that and i think he grew from all of those years of sort of going in that direction. as morley called it mike jumping out of a closet. >> rose: he grew beyond that too. >> he teased everybody. he was a rascal, full time. full time rascal. and he was that way on our floor. >> rose: how did he get along with morley. >> this was tough. it was a tough relationship. >> rose: consummate gentlemen and artists. >> i think what happened with morley when he first arrived, he was shocked because mike stole a couple of his stories. and morley, he's coming from london, it's about gentleman correspondence, well that's not "60 minutes." welcome to my program, "60 minutes," mike. but i think in a way that helped us because if morley was driven
to find his own path and he had such a great way with words that he was able to come up with these beautiful adventures and whimsical tails. >> willie lowman -- death of a salesman. once in my life instead i would like to own something outright before it's broken. i'm always in a race -- i just ceased paying for a car on its last leg. time things but time them so that when you finally pay for them they're used up. the trouble really is that nothing these days is good to last. the motor car best represents the fact that we live most our lives in a junk society. >> sure you haven't gotten any money. >> no, no. it's against company rules.
>> did you like that, one pat. >> he did that with his partner john tiffen over many years who was the producer. i think that's an important genre for us and became that as part of the mix of regular part of the hicks. >> rose: it took that longitude what, to build an audience, find a home. >> well they found a home which was 7 :00 on sunday. these when that happened. >> how can you tell. >> how can i tell what grade it should be. >> yes. >> on the technical grade factors. >> is maturity a judgment call. >> those. >> you're telling me any decent grade should be marked good open said of short. >> there's no question in my mind, mr. rather. >> dan rather joined at that point which was important because now you have an ensemble of reporters so that first bra cast at 7:00 on sunday, they had been off the care was i think the beginning of the modern "60
minutes." >> rose: how the success is the exmex in this. >> i think so. we try to keep it that way. >> rose: three investigative no but if there are three really important news stories that we have ready to go, you know, or perishable, we would put all three on. and we feel strongly about that too. that the mix is not the most important thing covering what's important is the most important thing. but if you have a chance which is the magazine and the ability to have a little bit of everything for everybody, you know. and i think it's the most valuable. it gives you a chance to just lighten up a little bit. the word isn't such a bad place. we're going to give you a story that's a little inspirational and maybe help you better understand a little. >> rose: in fact scott had a terrific piece about a young music conductor a girl prodigy. >> it was brilliant, she was amazing. ♪
>> wonderful. you just made that up before our eyes. it's not written down. will it ever be played again. >> well i can't remember everything, because i did improvisation because i never remember. >> takes you away a girl with that. >> rose: extraordinary powers. >> that nobody can explain. >> rose: the next is he had bradley. >> most people in this country think you are the face of -- >> they do. i'm just being me. >> what was your reaction when you saw those pictures. >> i think like everyone else, i thought it was a tragic event. >> and the children. >> ed had so much. we miss them all so much and ed, they each brought something very
unique. he was oozing credibility. i loved it when he filled in for walter or dan in the evening news because he worked at it but he was like walter that way. he had that kind of god-given credibility. and amazing ability. he really could do an interview and one of the things he talked about that i think made so much of what he did special is that he would wait it out. he would just wait it out. i don't have to rush in and fill the void if there's silence in this interview. let that just come out. he would sit and wait for it to come out. bob dylan was a great example of that. he sat there with bob dylan and got yeah, baby, just like that. >> yeah. >> where did it come from. >> it just came. >> eventually. >> rose: you found some work for you. you sit back at some point the
interviewee would compel compelled. >> i think that's what mike was talking about you do well here at this table eventually there's a relationship that builds and it's between the two of you forget about all the other people who are watching. >> rose: that's right. >> and ed did that brilliantly. it was a chalk when he left him as it was with bob simon. just a shock, stunning development. we worked i will never forget that weekend when we lost ed, remember when we lost bob, both of them in their 60's. >> rose: he came -- >> he rose up after he had been diagnosed and within three weeks, he was gone. it absolutely attacked his system. putting a tribute to him was very therapeutic because you hear his voice coming out and all the great stories. >> rose: all the people who
loved him. >> buffet. >> rose: buffet who loved him and came back. >> and lena horne. >> rose: one of my stories which i even use and people say what's your best interview and i tell them the story of bradley told the story i'm going to have him being stopped and say why do you deserve to be here and he says have you seen my lena horne interview. which was classic. >> am i rich, ready, right, juicy ♪ music. >> when you say i'm a ripe juicy plum again. >> you can't help your nature. that's what that line means. >> rose: in his engagement, she showed us a side of her friends knew that nobody else knew. >> part of it is that's what we really hope to do. i didn't know that. i learned something. i got something out of that.
i gave them all this time, and thank god i got something back. a lot of that in terms of our prod cast is the time that goes into it, the amount of reporting. it's a funny thing but almost everything we do is investigative. >> rose: right. >> because we spent so much time even on a profile digging into somebody and determining what it is that we filed interesting. >> rose: what make them tick. >> yes. and we think the audience will find interesting. that surprises you in some way or another. >> rose: "60 minutes" is a collaboration than any other i've ever seen. you moment you focus on the story, the producer and social producer kick in and decide what elements are possible. >> that's a huge part of the success. i think charlie as you see the people who have been on the broadcast on the air, it's high quality individual that gets to "60 minutes" and we've been able to maintain that. when you get there you realize
you've made it to a special that's special and you've got to perform. you've got to really deliver. people feel that but it is a collaborative effort. we recognize when there's a good collaboration, for instance a correspondent and a producer work very well together, it shows. you can tell. you see it. there's a higher quantity story. >> rose: when you come back and the editor is someone who understands the story. >> the editor, the video tape editor is a producer as well in many ways. they're looking for how to best tell the story. and so yeah, there are several levels of collaboration before it gets on the air and sometimes that can be painstaking. >> rose: we have talked about in different circumstances, the producer and the correspondent and the editor have put together something they say look, here's a beginning cut. >> yes. >> rose: and you and your colleagues -- >> and also what is essentially
a storyteller's craft, being able to look at something and say i think it works better this way. >> i think that that process that we go through, that ritual which can be paperful but also fulfilling is part of why a story that gets on "60 minutes" looks like it belongs there. which i think i hope the viewer takes for grand, they come in and tune in every sunday night expecting something. >> rose: and expecting quality and we have to deliver it. >> i think that process, that sort of diligence, that care is what helps deliver stories that belong there. >> rose: have you ever had anybody come to you and say i don't really like this, this is not for me, i'm out of here. >> at a certain point in time there can be a certain burntout factor that the intensity can get to people. it is a very intense place. at the same time it's an adult
shop. you're not supervising people. if you've arrived at "60 minutes" we don't have to hover over you, we know you're going to bring back a quality story. our job, my job as executive produce is to help you be better at it if i can. to do whatever i can to help you be pert at telling that story and reporting it. so we'll talk through the process, if they want to. if they need to. otherwise that's one of the i think great beauties. >> rose: the memos. >> it's a report's place. >> rose: the people that come in a part of this 50 year history, we had don and mike and harry had gone to abc, came back to cba, we had morley come in and don and ed bradley come in. and diane sawyer or steve
crawford. >> diane. when diane left is when steve came. >> rose: diane left for a couple years. >> she went to abc. that's when steve came in and that was a huge development for us as well. >> how long do you think this is going to take. >> we're going to push by heck and the majority people will hope to have their power up maybe january or february. >> talk about a pillar. we produced the first story at "60 minutes." >> rose: remember that. >> actually that was a good experience. we were really nervous about that. i was anyway. i think steve was a little more confident. i was new to this and he had been working. but mike wallace -- >> rose: another magazine show. >> yes. mike wallace came to our screening. >> rose: mike wallace shows up and has no reason to be there. >> which never happens. you don't find a correspondent coming to another correspondent screening but he want to make sure we were good enough. scared the hell out of me
because i knew that -- >> rose: what did he say to you after that. >> they gave can us a round of applause. i think because they were going -- >> rose: that you can't screw it up. >> that experience with don hewitt, it was a great experience and i learned so much from him just watching him. and i did a year later have a terrible experience where we brought in a story about the berlin wall falling and poland shifting towards capitalism when with a finish showing the piece and the heights came on and don came to me and said where do you want it kid right between the eyes. that's not good. >> rose: but what came out of it, it was a better piece judicial absolutely. that's how we learn. he showed me a better piece and we got it on the air. >> i understand it. the f.b.i. was running a sting on the bush quail campaign about this wiretapping allegation. >> that you'll have, i cannot, i
don't know anything about that. >> again another pillar of the broadcast she's two years after steve. and it's just amazing. she came probably with more experience than anybody had as a real reporter. >> rose: a correspondent for three different -- judicial three different administrations. and face the nation host moderator for i don't know what it was 12 years maybe. just a lot of experience. ed bradley we learned layer was skeptical. >> rose: about her. >> yeah. >> rose: because? >> because he thought she might not have the range. >> rose: the politics -- >> as a generalist. she was shocked. she knew someone objected and probably thought it was morley but it was ed whom she had worked with at the washington bureau. she had a laugh about it year later. it's a tough job to land. i think there isn't a report on
in america who wouldn't mind ending up at "60 minutes." >> rose: everybody want to work on "60 minutes," everybody wants to be on "60 minutes" and everybody wants to see "60 minutes." >> one of the things leslie brought is an amazing workout. it's hard. people look at it and say well how many stories is she doing, 15-20. but that requires a ton. every correspondent that works at "60 minutes" does every single interview. and that means a lot of travel, a lot of road time and a lot of late nights trying to get a story together. >> rose: put the whole thing together. let me catch up with your journey. born in massachusetts. >> yes. >> rose: ended up in local television there. >> actually, yes. 1977 graduated from college and got a job as a, you know, as a kid to help out basically. >> rose: thennded up in san francisco.
>> started writing radio news in boss than and got a job as a news writer in san francisco. >> rose: when did you come to cbs. >> in 1982 for the first night watch. i was producing the 11:00 news at ktix and they needed someone who could do that produce and broadcast that's going to be live. >> rose: originally night watch was live for the first couple year. >> i was the first broadcast producer and we were, i was 27 and it was an amazing entry into cbs news. a great way to start. i was there for a year. >> rose: it became a coy. >> when you took over it did. >> rose: when you went to lun did you. >> yes. and london was the best experience i ever had i think because of the variety of stories. it was hard. i challenging. it's a great bureau, it stilling. >> rose: great place to live. >> great place to life. i wasn't there much. i was primarily for the cbs evening news, you're on the road most of the time. we had a couple kids at the time and one of them born there and i
was gone. i think it was 60% of the time and covered everything mannable. so the level of experience for someone on had just turned 30 because remarkable. and also just another adult job. i just love that bit. >> rose: for three years, 85-88. then came back to "60 minutes." >> no i came back to 48 hours. it was really an amazing experience. my wife stayed in london, they did not really want to come pack to the u.s. i did a lot of the foreign first 48 hours in london. it was really great. >> rose: did you want to work for "60 minutes" at that time. >> yes. >> rose: how long had been pointing for that thing, when can i get the "60 minutes." >> at that time for me it was a dream. i couldn't imagine it would happen. a year if i started talking to morley safer about a job and then i worked with steve kroft
in london together for the evening news. he got the job and boom, he asked me if i want to come with him and i sure did. >> rose: how long were you there before they asked you to go over the evening news. >> over five years. >> rose: you produced for morley. >> three and-a-half for morley, two for steve. learned a ton from don, enough so that i thought i was ready at age 40 to go had and be an editor myself the this was one of the gray things about "60 minutes" and my trajectory i had so much time out covering every kind of story. there aren't enough editors in the world who actually spend enough time out in the world to experience what it is people go through when they're out covering their stories. i think that helped me a lot in running the evening news. >> rose: dan rather was your -- >> yes. anchor. a wonderful experience. i loved working with dan. >> rose: then the idea of "60 minutes" too comes up.
>> yes, too came up somewhere in 1998. it was a big fight. the idea was presented to the carrottence. >> rose: at "60 minutes." >> yes. it was a terrible schedule. he had nothing to work with. news mag skeins were proliferating at that time and he said why wouldn't we copy the best one. he got them all together and they were really upset about it. >> rose: they want no part of "60 minutes." >> he said it was like arguing with mount rush more. he had huge respect for mike and morley and don. >> rose: but it was top. >> but it just -- >> rose: they thought it would be an invitation. >> i think they got used to the idea it's going to happen and it would be better off if you choose someone that you're comfortable with. >> rose: you're running up some pretty good correspondents. >> so i ended up the compromise was i would run it and yeah you were one -- >> rose: you had confidence -- >> all of them, yes.
evening news had gone very well because i was using the traditional values and -- >> rose: and your belief in hard news. >> yes and covering what's important. and you know, very little frills and not; no stories. so "60 minutes" too start incredibly well. so charlie, you were one of the first people i went to. and don didn't think that -- >> rose: i want to even cap this show. >> yes. he didn't think i should hire you. it's funny because morley said to me, forget them. bring charlie in. and it was a great thing. it was a hell of an accomplishment. >> rose: one of the things i take great pleasure and pride, i occupy morley's office and morley's disk which has all these secret marks on them. he would let these cigarettes burn to the end all over his desk. >> i know. it's amazing. >> rose: you have to see pictures of his desk or his
office which i have also. it's like somebody just threw 150 books on top of the desk. >> and every paper he touched. >> rose: he was also a painter. >> he's really talent. the walls were filled with work he's done. >> rose: including one with your head. >> my head on a platter. actually it's a pretty if story. he was quoted at the start of "60 minutes" someone asked me do you expect to beat "60 minutes" in the rayings and i said no it's okay to be number two and i quoted john the baptist. my minister had talked about him that sunday or something. i quoted john the baptist saying it's okay to be number two we all know who number one is. so morley came in the next day with my head on a platter. and it was a photo shopped picture and under it said the punishment of st. jeff the baptist. >> rose: correspondent for that "60 minutes" dan rather. scott pelley.
me. bob simon. >> yeah. vicky. that was it. it was a great team, it really was. >> rose: we were there i think five years. >> six years. >> rose: then don hewitt retires. >> yes. >> rose: when did you know that you would succeed him? >> i knew they didn't think about it until about two years before it happened. because they started talking about the possibility -- >> rose: because you were doing -- >> we were doing great at "60 minutes" too and i was very happy and i didn't think in my mind don was going to always be there. some thing aren't going to change. you don't think of it that way but it became apparent that it was probably time for a change. he was getting on and i think they needed something fresh, i think at some point. and i think most of the correspondents recognize that. so about a year and-a-half before. >> rose: you knew he retired. >> i knew. and a year and-a-half. >> rose: year and-a-half before it happened. >> yes. >> rose: you know what they
say. you don't want to follow the guy, you want to follow the guy who followed the legend. you repeated that when you and i met with tim cook because he succeeded steve jobs. >> that's right. >> rose: and shared that kind of hij. >> i did mention that to him. >> rose: how did you meet the challenge. they knew you. you were coming, you weren't somebody they plucked from another network. >> i don't think so. not only that but everything we did on "60 minutes" two there was always a classic built in. all the corresponds at "60 minutes," they got a little paycheck every time they went o they were all working at "60 minutes" two, for me, i really was can denial i would be able to do the job well. i've learned from don so much and i didn't want to go in there and just put my fingerprint on it. i loved what it was. i thought we could be newsier and i added that, we did become
newsier. my job was really to show everybody who worked there i could even had them make their stories better, period. one story at a time. and i think probably the person i was closest to, steve and morley and mike, i knew them all and ed. but ed was the most nervous. yes. is this really going to work. and it took two serious story collaborations to convince him. and once he was on, boy he was great. he was just great. >> rose: what makes the great "60 minutes" segment? >> it's funny. i think we tend to judge -- >> rose: story. >> yes. we ten to judge ourselves by how good our investigations are. i'm not sure that's how the viewer judges us possibly because if you just look at this year, i think impact is even a better way to put it. if you just look at this season or 50th's, it's been a really interesting mix of story beginning with your steve bannon interview. why are you doing this
irinterest view. >> because i think it's important the white house gets the message out about president. >> rose: never been interviewed. everybody knew about him but didn't know. a guy who was even more controversial in person than he was from a distance. >> yes. and he really surprised us when he came to play. talk about impact. i mean i don't remember interview with one person where there was so much talk, what we call legs. >> rose: week after week after week. >> yes. reported quotes from it. >> rose: in fact the press secretary spent the entire day on monday answering questions about steve bannon, remember. >> yes. from monday, monday after you hope for that. i don't know if there was anything like that. i think impact. think about we've had so many stories in these most 12 months the story that stands out me is the bill whitaker ira rosen
story about the opioid crises and the dea being hobbled not clacking down on a list of sales. yes. talk about legs. that thing hit hard. i think it's those kind of stories at that time we try for. everybody who works there wants to have that kind -- >> rose: and the news, relevant, timely. >> yes. >> rose: and have an impact so that the president of the united states is first to respond. >> yes, yes. and the drugs, the man who has been appointed drug tzar has to step out. i think one of the great things about a magazine and working at "60 minutes" is the very next story you can go out and do something totally different. the next story you had was the interview with the emir of qatar and it was a fast changing space and news worth to. steve kroft, look what he's done. steve would say it was one of
his favorite interviews ever. >> rose: he said that to us the other night. in fact no matter how well you knew how well you knew john lecarre or ready every book you got a feel for him you in order him. you seen him through his words and now you seen him through his own voice. thee what "60 minutes" can do. >> three weeks later, steve is puerto rico doing a story about the disaster there. >> would you say puerto rico is a colony of the united states, what do you mean exactly. >> well it is a colonial territory. we are part of the united states. congress has a full secession power over puerto rico. >> what's congress stopped from saying i'm sorry but we've got california to take care of and you're just -- >> the vast majority of preaks are -- puerto rico catch a flight and move to one of those
states. >> i think to help our viewers better understand what that's all about. that's another thing you try to do. there are i think story that can have an impact on individuals by helping them better understand the world. but then there are stories that haven't impact on the greater good. >> rex is blind and brimming with enthusiasm but he can't tie his shoes or dress himself or even carry on a basic conversation. >> leslie. >> yes. >> i did a wonderful job standing. >> but with all the things rex can't do, he can do this. >> i'm going to play three notes. >> four. >> play any note on the piano and rex can tell you what it is. >> f, b flat, c sharp. >> yes. >> that level of impact is what make us proud. >> there are stories which you
can explain, people have been thinking about don't know what it is but know it's important. artificial intelligence is one thing. >> yes. >> rose: immunotherapy is another in which scott pele went down to duke i think it was. >> yes. he's done some ai stories that have been important. >> rose: this is looking at the frontier of science and where it's going and finding the people who are doing the thing that will make the difference. who win the nobel prizes, in fact show you the ways. >> some of those stories are complicated and different to tell on television. that's a challenge and source of pride for us as well in terms of the business world. the great crash in 2007, a year later we did a story of steve kroft and frank divine the producer about credit so that two parts -- most people in televict news business will say i'm not going near that judicial these --
>> these investments were not only selling security investments but they were selling insurance on them. >> well it made it easier to sell the terrible investment if you could uncan vince the buyer not only were they going to get the investment but insurance. >> when homeowner began to default on their mortgages and wall street's high risked mortgage back securities also began to fail the big investment houses and insurance companies who sold the credit default swaps hadn't set aside the money they needed to pay off all the insurance contracts they've written. >> that challenges us. it goes against conventional wisdom of what is supposed to work on television. on the whole i think the viewer did get a much better sense what created that horrible recession and crash. and send shock waves through the financial world. and at the same time really had a feel for it and the audience was huge. one of the big else audiences of
that so there's a hunger for it in america, i think, that kind of real important. >> rose: what's the culture like for people who look outside and they see every sunday coming up. and you watch it at home because you want to be where the viewer is. >> i do, i watch it every sunday at home. >> don did the same thing. >> yes. >> i don't like to be invited to something on sunday. >> rose: i'm having a big party to celebrate my piece. >> i'm not coming. it's just one of those things where i feel like you have to watch it like everybody's watching it even though i seen the story so many sometimes. >> rose: can you define the culture of "60 minutes." >> yes, i can. i think that you know, without sounding too hokey, i think that almost everybody who works there thinks it as a client, that there's a responsibility. you have an opportunity here to reach the biggest mass audience for a thus program. >> rose: you reached what, how many. >> there were probably 13
million people watching and this was early october, 13 or 14 million. and that's about what we get. this time of year it starts to go to 16, 17, 18 million. but i think there is that drive to add, in our broadcast, to you know, to do something important and to really be better than last sunday, you know. that's a big part of culture too. from my perspective i'm too busy thinking about next sunday, i can barely remember what happened last sunday. >> rose: a couple things you have done that make accessibility much more easy, one that is -- something called "60 minutes" overtime. >> our model of business is the beatles. they were four very talented guys who keep each other's kind
of negative tendencies in check. they balanced each other. and the sum was greater than, the total was greater than the sum of its parts. that's how i see business. great things in business are never done by one person. they're done by a team of people. and we've got that here at pixar and we've got that at apple as well. so that's what let's me do this. well you know what the beatles when they were together, they did truly brilliant innovative work and when they split up they did good work but it was never the same. i see business as that will too. >> sometime around 2007, 2008, folks interacted with cbs suggested there's a place for us to do original content on-line. one of the things that always frustrates me about our experience or did before is that people well come back from a story and they'll come into my
office and tell a story about what happened to them out there but never make it on to "60 minutes." and they're fascinating behind the scenes thoughts about what it was like to cover certain story and you've done many of them char law, they're valuable. right away i found an audio, we push it mention on the broadcast what we're going to be covering every sunday. the correspondent who came from the boston globe and does a terrific job i think of adding value to what we're reporting. >> rose: what's interesting what you just said too. it is that you are the carrottent, we were all the producers but come together to write, producers often write first draft and then you work on that. then we'd show it to you. this is what a great editor does. you will say in your remarkable
colleague bill owen will say this is a story -- it's the idea of asking yourself how do i reach the viewer. i'm going to tell you a story about a war you may not even know about in a place you probably have never even been but is having huge consequences in the middle east and might lead to something horrible. >> so i think what is also a very big part of our culture is to tell a story not in news speak. >> rose: exactly. >> the way reporters tell stories. so i even have a board in my office that is forbidden words. it's news speak. it's words that only reporters use. as an example the word clear people are so sick, the most overused word in television news all the time. nothing's clear. we don't talk like reporters on tv think they are supposed to
talk. >> rose: talk like story tellers. >> right. we like to write in the spoken word so it's easy to follow and so important that it's not overwritten, it's understated rather than overstated. we hate hype and i think the viewer feels that as they watch it, it's just easier to take in. we always follow this principal that you can't go back and read that paragraph again. you better make that understandable. and that's part of -- >> rose: it's also for the ear and not for the eye. >> our broadcast plays on the radio. that's not the driving force. the radio, we're on the radio as a simulcast because it work so well because we're writing for the ear. >> rose: has there been a important difficult time for "60 minutes" than the tobacco story. >> that actually happened here. it was rough.
>> rose: yes is it was. >> it was difficult. as you look back on it, it was the company cbs saying you can't run that story because the tobacco companies will sue us because jeffrey wagon was "the whistleblower" saying nicotine was addictive and cigarette and everything in it will kill you but they kept saying it wasn't. they feared and this to me is a little bit of insanity, a lot of insanity when the public health is at stake in terms of reporting, nothing's more important. so how can a company sue us when we're trying to report the truth about a public health has that's killing millions of people. and so it was the perfect "60 minutes" or especially. but it was in the days of larry tish. i don't know the exact reasons but they had a tobacco company
that was part of it possibly. >> rose: even the owner of cbs owned a large part of the stock and he was the ceo. >> forbidden to put the story on the air, what are you going to do. still when adverse rea arises in a situation where everybody's working closely and yet at the same time competing against each other which is part of how the place is set up, it started to get tense. and i think it did break out here at this table when morley was assuring you, charlie rose, and your viewers that wagon was up and up and he was pure whistle blowing and has been paying a consulting fee on a previous story not on the story in question at the moment. and he had been promised some kind of insurance in case he was protection from that. so morley was so upset when he
found out that what he said to chorlz. charlie rose. he wrote you a letter of apology. >> rose: he did. they never threatened to sue and they never had contact with cbs, correct. >> as far as i know. >> rose: what indication is there that they would have sued cbs if they went forward with this interview. >> you got to take to -- >> rose: wouldn't they raise it with you, the lawyers to you -- we we raised it with thm and is he said. > this is our judgment. >> rose: the judgment is they will sue. >> they haven't threatened or contacted us but our judge is they may sue or they will sue. >> brown and williamson i am told is a fairly litigious company. the tobacco companies generally speaking has been litigious. look the tobacco companies as we said last night on the piece what they do is the documents that they do not want to put the
public view, they will file or send all documents that they are sent to me to their legal department or their outside council thereby invoking attorney client privilege. am i wrong about that. >> you should know about ten years ago brown and williamson did collect a few million dollars from cbs a long time ago in liable suit coming out of chicago. >> they followed it. >> for many years that was the largest liable judgment ever corrected against anyone. >> rose: that was part one of our two par conversation with jeff fager, 50 years of "60 minutes." tomorrow night part two. visit captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org