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Madoff Madness: The 60 Minutes Interview

Last night’s 60 Minutes show featured Morley Safer’s interview with Bernie Madoff’s wife Ruth and their son Andrew. I hadn’t planned on watching and only saw the beginning as a result of the NFL lead in. But once I started watching, I couldn’t stop.

Some thoughts:

  • Morley Safer will be 80 years old on November 8th. While he looks it, he is still a top notch interviewer. He asks the questions you are thinking of while watching. His demeanor fits the format and he is part of the show but not the show. 
  • Ruth Madoff calmly explains that when Bernie called home and suggested she shift $10 million to their checking account, it was nothing unusual. Man, if that doesn’t tell you that they lived in a different world, nothing will. Imagine that conversation: “Honey, can you shift $10 million to our checking account?” “Sure, and on your way home, can you stop and pick up a milk factory?”
  • Andrew had his message down and as a result came across as scripted instead of contrite. He was composed to a fault and didn’t show much emotion about his brother’s death. He emphasizes that he knew nothing about what his Dad was doing and seems convinced that if that is true, there’s nothing wrong with it.
  • Andrew’s fiance, Catherine Hooper, plugged the book, Truth or Consequences by Lori Saddell. Safer mentioned that Hooper will be the only one to get income from the book. Hooper recently blogged that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Maybe that’s why she seemed almost too comfortable with the interview. She came across to me as too scripted and comfortable with the “opportunity. 
  • 60 Minutes was built on great reporting and around talented journalists. As the originals like Wallace, Safer, Rooney et al move on and as their core viewers over the years get older and older, can CBS even hope to maintain the brand?

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