"Was it an oversight? I think so. But if that's the only thing they can find fault with, I can live with that."
60 Minutes executive producer Don Hewitt was commenting on the report that a much publicized interview with former Bush administration counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke had not disclosed that Clarke's book is published by Simon & Schuster. A show spokesman also said that 60 Minutes has "interviewed authors from virtually all the book publishing companies and is beholden to none of them." Both CBS and the publishing company are owned by Viacom Inc.
The Sunday broadcast featured an interview with Clarke about allegations in his book, Against All Enemies, that the administration was fixated on Iraq to the detriment of the war on terror.
It was the top-viewed show on TV Sunday night (it drew a 10.3 rating/16 share, according to Nielsen overnights).
Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, doesn't see the omission a big problem.
He says it would have been better to identify the synergy, but also says the story was of obvious importance and news value. "It was a small omission in this case," he says, "I think this story is significant and I don't think that anyone is imagining that they had this man on just because their parent company is publishing the book. But, that doesn't mean you don't want to disclose that fact and let the viewers decide."
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