Jeff Fager And Lesley Stahl On 50 Years Of '60 Minutes'

Jeff Fager And Lesley Stahl On 50 Years Of '60 Minutes'
    >> Stephen: WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY.
    FOLKS, THIS SEASON "60 MINUTES" CELEBRATES ITS 50th
    ANNIVERSARY.
    MY NEXT GUESTS HELP MAKE IT THE MOST-WATCHED NEWS PROGRAM IN
    AMERICA.
    PLEASE WELCOME LESLEY STAHL AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER JEFF FAGER.
    ( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ) LESLEY, LOVELY TO SEE YOU.
    NICE TO SEE YOU.
    >> NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN.
    >> Stephen: JEFF, NICE TO SEE YOU.
    NOW, LESLEY, OBVIOUSLY, WE ALL KNOW YOU.
    YOU'RE ON TV.
    THAT MAKES YOU IMPORTANT.
    WHO'S THAT GUY OVER THERE?
    AND WHY DO WE CARE?
    >> SO,OB, HE, OBVIOUSLY, HE'S TH BOSS, AND WHAT'S IMPORTANT
    ABOUT JEFF IS THAT HE TOOK OVER FROM THE GIANT, THE
    CREATOR, DONAHUEI DON HEWITT WHO CREATED "60 MINUTES," AND
    IT'S IMPOSSIBLE, AS YOU MAY WELL KNOW, TO TAKE OVER FROM
    THE GOD.
    BUT JEFF DID IT, AND HE DID IT MAGNIFICENTLY.
    HE'S KEPT WHAT DON CREATED AT ITS HEART AND SOUL, BUT
    HE'S MADE US MORE NEWSY.
    HE'S MADE US ON THE NEWS MORE THAN WE USED TO BE.
    AND ONE OF DON'S GREAT STRENGTHS WAS THAT HE COULD
    LOOK AT A STORY AND KNOW EXACTLY HOW TO MAKE IT
    BETTER.
    AND WE ALL THOUGHT, WELL, JEFF'S NEVER GOING TO BE AS
    GOOD AS DON AT THAT.
    AND HE IS.
    >> THANK YOU.
    >> HAVE I SUCKED UP ENOUGH?
    >> Stephen: YEAH, YOU SURE HAVE.
    ( APPLAUSE ) NOW, SO, YOU'RE IN THE
    50th SEASON OF "60 MINUTES."
    >> YES.
    >> Stephen: IT'S AS GOOD AS IT EVER WAS.
    I WATCHED IT THIS SUNDAY.
    HAD THREE PERFECT "60 MINUTES" STORYS.
    YOU HAD PUERTO RICO.
    YOU HAD THE SLOWLY TILTING MILLENNIUM TOWER IN SAN
    FRANCISCO.
    AND YOU HAD THE MUSICAL PRODIGY FROM ENGLAND.
    LIKE, WHAT'S THE FORMULA THAT GOES INTO CHOOSING
    THOSE THREE STORIES?
    WHY ARE THOSE "60 MINUTES" STORIES.
    >> IT REALLY IS A PERFECT MIX, THIS SUNDAY NIGHT
    BROADCAST WE JUST HAD.
    YOU LOVE TO HAVE SOMETHING WHICH IS IN THE NEWS-- WHICH
    IS PUERTO RICO.
    IT'S DEVASTATED BY THIS TERRIBLE HURRICANE.
    AND TO HAVE THE PIECE ABOUT THE LEANING BUILDING IN THE
    MIDDLE WAS FASCINATING.
    AND THEN THIS BEAUTIFUL PRODIGY AS THE END PIECE,
    WHICH WAS INSPIRATIONAL AND JUST LOVELY TO WATCH.
    SO THAT MIX IS A BIG PART OF WHAT WE TRY TO DO EVERY
    SUNDAY NIGHT.
    >> Stephen: NOW, IS THERE A-- IS THERE A COMPETITIVE
    CULTURE AT "60 MINUTES"?
    I HEAR THAT IT'S-- WHAT'S THE WORD-- A TIGER PIT
    BETWEEN THE--( LAUGHTER )
    IS THERE A STORY THERE?
    IS THERE A STORY THERE?
    >> WELL, YOU KNOW, IT IS A TIGER PIT.
    AND STEVE KROFT AND I WENT AT IT BECAUSE WE BOTH WANT
    HARVEY WEINSTEIN.
    I'M JOKING.
    >> Stephen:ENING YOU'RE KIDDING ON THE SQUARE
    BECAUSE-- >> I'M TOTALLY KIDDING.
    >> Stephen: I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU GUYS WILL SNAKE
    EACH OTHER'S STORIES AWAY FROM EACH OTHER, AND THAT'S
    JUST HOW THAT IS.
    >> WELL, I THINK THAT THAT REPUTATION COMES FROM MIKE
    WALLACE WHO WAS NEVER AFRAID TO SAY, "I'M PREPARED TO
    STEAL YOUR STORY FRU."
    >> Stephen: BUT PREPARED AND THEN WOULD DO IT.
    >> YES.
    >> OH, MY GOD, HE DID IT WITH ME WHEN I FIRST GOT
    THERE WITH BARBRA STREISAND.
    HE READ UPSIDE DOWN ON MY NOTES THAT BARBRA
    STREISAND-- HE THOUGHT THAT'S A GOOD IDEA.
    AND HE CALLED HER AND HE TOOK IT AWAY FROM ME.
    >> Stephen: DID YOU GO AFTER HIM WITH A BROKEN
    BOTTLE?
    WHAT DID YOU DO?
    >> YOU KNOW, I SUFFERED.
    I SUFFERED.
    I JUST WAS HURT.
    HE WAS VERY LOVELY TO ME.
    HE WAS A TOUGH MAN.
    HE'S WHAT YOU SAW ON TELEVISION.
    BUT HE CALLED ME IN ONE DAY, AND HE SAID, "LOOK, KID,
    YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO MAKE IT UNTIL YOU LEARN HOW TO
    ASK AN EMBARRASSING QUESTION WITHOUT BEING EMBARRASSED."
    AND THAT'S, OF COURSE, WHAT HE DID.
    >> YEAH.
    >> AND IT WAS HARD.
    YOU KNOW, YOU ASK THESE PERSONAL QUESTIONS, AND
    BELIEVE ME, YOU SUFFER INSIDE.
    >> Stephen: IS THERE A QUESTION-- LIKE, IS THERE A
    QUESTION THAT YOU HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO BRING YOURSELF
    TO ASK, LIKE, WITH A SUBJECT?
    >> WELL, IT'S REALLY HARD WHEN YOU HAVE A SICK KID AND
    YOU'RE INTERVIEWING THE PARENTS.
    AND MAYBE THE PARENTS DID-- WERE NEGLIGENT IN SOME WAY.
    AND THAT IS JUST IMPOSSIBLE.
    IT'S THE PERSONAL STORIES THAT-- NOT WITH POLITICIANS.
    THERE'S NOTHING I WOULDN'T ASK A POLITICIAN.
    ( LAUGHTER ) AND NOTHING I WOULD BE
    EMBARRASSED ABOUT ASKING A POLITICIAN.
    ( APPLAUSE ) >> Stephen: WELL, THERE'S
    A NEW BOOK OUT TO GO WITH THE 50th YEAR OF "60
    MINUTES."
    THE BOOK IS WARTS AND ALL.
    MOSTLY SUCCESSES, BUT SOME FAILURES.
    >> YEAH.
    >> Stephen: WHAT DID YOU-- WHAT DID YOU DO, YOU KNOW,
    ON A PIECE OR PRODUCING SOMETHING IF IT DIDN'T GO
    WRITE, IF YOU DIDN'T GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT, IF YOU
    WERE CAUGHT UP SHORT ON SOMETHING, HOW DID YOU DEAL
    WITH IT?
    >> YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS WE LEARNED
    FROM DON HON HEWITT THAT GOES BACK TO THE BEGINNING
    OF CBS NEWS, IS OWN UP TO YOUR MISTAKES.
    NOBODY THINKS YOU'RE GOING TO BE PERFECT.
    THE AUDIENCE, VIEWERS KNOW THAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN
    SOMETIMES.
    WE HAVE ONE OF THE MOST INCREDIBLY STRENUOUS AND
    RIGOROUS PROCESSES OF BRINGING THE STORIES TO AIR.
    SO BY THE TIME THEY GET TO AIR, OUR-- ALL OF OUR TOOLS
    FOR WATCHING AFTER FAIRNESS AND ACCURACY, IT'S GONE
    THROUGH THE GRIST MILL.
    IT REALLY HAS.
    THEY'RE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN.
    BUT WHEN WE DO MAKE MISTAKES, YOU BETTER OWN UP
    TO THEM, EXPLAIN HOW IT HAPPENED, AND MOVE ON ONE
    STORY AT A TIME.
    >> I HAD ONE.
    >> Stephen: YOU HAD ONE MISTAKE?
    ( APPLAUSE ).
    >> I HAD A BIGGIE.
    IT'S TRUE.
    IT WAS A DEFECTOR.
    >> Stephen: A DEFECTOR.
    >> RIGHT BEFORE THE IRAQ WAR, AND HE CAME ON.
    I WAS WARNED NEVER LISTEN TO A DEFECTOR.
    THEY'RE GOING TO LIE TO YOU.
    BUT I WENT AHEAD AND DID IT.
    WE HAD HIM VETTED.
    AND HE WAS TELLING US ABOUT THESE TRUCKS THAT SADDAM
    HUSSEIN HAD HIM BUY-- RENAULT TRUCKS-- AND THEY
    WERE ROAMING THE COUNTRYSIDE OF IRAQ MAKING BIOLOGICAL
    WEAPONS, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.
    AND, OF COURSE, IT WASN'T TRUE.
    AND WE PUT THE STORY ON "60 MINUTES," AND IT WAS SO
    PAINFUL WHEN WE REALIZED IT.
    AND WE DID APPROXIMATION IT.
    >> Stephen: WHEN DID YOU FIND OUT?
    HOW LONG BEFORE YOU FOUND OUT IT WAS A LIE?
    >> FOR A LONG TIME, MONTHS.
    >> Stephen: HAD THE WAR ALREADY STARTED AT THAT
    POINT?
    >> YEAH, WE FOUND-- THE WHOLE WAR FOUND OUT AFTER
    THE WAR START GLD DID YOU FEEL ANY CULPABILITY AT THAT
    POINT?
    >> I DO, TERRIBLE.
    >> Stephen: WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THESE FEEL ?TION I
    DON'T MEAN TO BE TOO PERSONAL.
    BUT YOU TAKE THE WORK VERY PERSONALLY AND YOU ARE PART
    OF A HISTORICAL MOMENT YOU WISH HADN'T HAPPENED, HOW DO
    YOU OBI HAVE AT THAT?
    >> YOU GO ON AND DO YOUR NEXT STORY AS WELL AS YOU
    CAN AND THE NEXT ONE AND THE NEXT ONE AND YOU DON'T MAKE
    ANY MORE MISTAKES.
    >> YEAH.
    >> Stephen: THANK YOU SO MUCH.
    DISWREF, GOOD TO SEE YOU.
    "60 MINUTES" AIRS SUNDAY NIGHTS AT 7:00 ON CBS
    AND THE BOOK "FIFTY YEARS OF 60 MINUTES" IS AVAILABLE NOW.
    JEFF FAGER AND LESLEY STAHL, EVERYBODY!
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