Don had a legendarily short attention span. He bragged about it. He said he was as easily bored as the audience. So if Don yelled “Stop” in the middle of the screening, it was not a good sign—but not necessarily a disaster. He was bored, or annoyed, or more likely had a brilliant idea about how to drop one interview, expand another, and rearrange the structure to make the story interesting to him and the audience. Everyone who went through the process concurred: Don was a story-fixing genius.
If, on the other hand, he watched the story all the way through and the lights went up and he paused for a second and then said, “That is the best damn story I’ve seen all year,” I imagine the producer and correspondent slept well that night receiving high praise from the man who reinvented television news.