Choose Your Own Interviewer on 60 Minutes?

An online commenter helps Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik distill his argument that having James Brown (a CBS Sports host) interview Michael Vick (a recently-reinstated NFL quarterback who missed two seasons while serving time for participating in a dogfighting ring) on 60 Minutes this Sunday —because, 60 Minutes says, Brown “[got] the interview on his own”— threatens 60 Minutes’ credibility. Writes “Andre” to Zurawik:

I don’t think that having [Brown] do the interview is going to be perceived well though. Not for 60 Minutes, [Brown] or [Michael Vick]. It seems like cronyism between the subject and interviewer, cherry-picking an interviewer by Vick’s agent, and CBS trying to bolster ratings for their NFL package, rather than 60 Minutes reporting on a news story.

I won’t claim to be impartial regarding Vick, but I am more disappointed with how 60 Minutes is handling this. Maybe they will next start bringing in Entertainment Tonight “reporters” to cover their frequent celebrity stories?

To which Zurawik replies:

That’s it, I wish I had said that. Thanks. Why not let Britney Spears have her favorite ET host interview her on 60 Minutes? Great, thanks, that’s the comparison that nails it.

Brown, Zurawik underlines, is employed not by CBS News but by CBS Sports (the implication being, so how does CBS News know how Brown went about “getting” this interview). If 60 Minutes were willing to look even farther outside its own borders — and, with “death panels” all in the news —maybe 60 Minutes could land a Sarah Palin interview if Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren were to sit for a night in Katie Couric’s chair?

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.