CBS Exposed: Bob Simon’s “Theatrical Outrage”
It’s not too late to add your voice and let CBS know what you think. Particularly when you see below how Bob Simon’s outrage at Ambassador Michael Oren has been exposed as nothing more than a cynical ploy.
When reporter Bob Simon interviewed Ambassador Michael Oren, Simon’s outrage — that the ambassador sought to intervene in the 60 Minutes piece on Christians in the Holy Land — was sharp.
Turns out Simon was more theatrical than we realized. BuzzFeed obtained a copy of a letter Simon sent Oren politely inviting Oren to share his views on the status of Christians in the Holy Land — was courteously acknowledged by the ambassador.
“We didn’t realize it would become so controversial,” Simon said in his introduction to the story, which featured an on-air clash between him and Oren. “I’ve never gotten a reaction before from a story that hasn’t been broadcast yet,” Simon told the ambassador during the segment.
But Simon’s apparent shock — and high dudgeon — at Oren’s conduct were nowhere to be found in a letter he wrote the ambassador before the taping, and which was provided to BuzzFeed by a political operative not party to the dispute who said he shared it because he thought it illustrated CBS doubletalk.
“Fortunately, we are still in the process of reporting the story, so [CBS News Chairman Jeff] Fager and I want to give you an opportunity to express your views and correct any misrepresentations or omissions which you apparently believe might have occurred,” Simon wrote, in a courteous missive on personalized “60 Minutes” letterhead, dated January 4. “Thank you and best wishes.”
Oren responded to Simon on January 11 with an equally courteous letter, saying he was “indeed concerned” about the planned segment and that he would like to “respond to the allegations raised” once he knew what they were.
All this is fairly common in the dance between reporters and sources. It’s not unusual for reporters to seek difficult interviews with innocuous correspondence. Less common is the theatrical outrage Simon expressed on air, but not in the letter, at Oren’s interest in shaping a story about his country.