It's Official. CBS 60 Minutes has turned into a corporate propaganda show from the long-time original investigative reporting 60 Minutes used to be. Many point to the phony story on the NSA or Benghazi as the turning point for the long time news show but we think there are other stories just as outrageous.
The first inkling things were going wrong was when 60 Minutes tried to claim the social security disability benefits program is increasing dramatically and full of fraud and scammers. The show had taken verbatim, tea party talking points and claimed they were fact. Not a fact check or even an interview with the social security administration appeared on the segment. The reality is the requirements to obtain disability benefits are very tough, the delays enormous and the worst fact ignored by 60 Minutes is there is no increase in disability beneficiaries that cannot be explained by the increasing and aging population.
Next, 60 Minutes gave Amazon a full 15 minutes of the best free advertizing money can buy. No one in their right mind would sit through 15 minutes of a commercial, yet presented as a new story, people watch, believing the media they are digesting is actually news. This isn't the first time a news organization has issued corporate planted press releases as news, yet a full bore 15 minute segment designed to hype and inspire on prime time television might be a first. As a result of the 60 Minutes segment, the entire world was abuzz about Amazon, right in alignment with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the biggest online buying times of the year. The world lit up with images of Jeff Bezos' drone army dropping packages like hailstones on America's front doorsteps. This glorified infomercial was broadcast by CBS and of course unchallenged by 60 Minutes producers, even though flying drones is illegal in the United States. The entire segment went viral and gave Amazon one huge viral marketing freebie, right in alignment with Black Friday week. Bezos later apologized for the hype, but not before obtaining millions in free marketing and advertising, complete with a flurry of delivery parodies. Other companies turned around and also made parody videos, also giving them even more free viral marketing thanks to Amazon.
With all of the angry talk about the super rich getting richer, 60 Minutes was happy to oblige running a counter story. 60 Minutes had the gall to run a bogus billionaires club story, extolling their great virtues. The promo for the segment even claimed America should be grateful for them. Yes, people like Bill Gates are giving charitable contributions to third world countries all the while offshore outsourcing jobs, firing people right and left in America and actively lobbying Congress for more agendas that will cripple the U.S. worker further. Yes, the people responsible for increasing income inequality in the United States are something we serfs and proletariat should be grateful for. Who knew? Who knew that lobbying Congress for increased tax breaks for corporations and the super rich was philanthropy, as presented by 60 Minutes. Who knew the agenda to destroy Medicare, medicaid and social security by claiming they will bankrupt the nation was giving back to society. These were just some of the charitable giving items this gang of billionaires is doing. Yet, 60 Minutes fawned over Bill Gates PR stunt as great for the world and purely philanthropy. Somehow social justice and economic equality has been replaced with barracuda billionaires' distorted world visions. Instead of outrage over the disappearing middle classes, we should all be grateful for billionaires and their charity. This is the very same spin used by the robber barons and industrialists of the gilded age and 60 Minutes had no problem presenting such public relations propaganda as news.
The segment was even more outrageous for much of the activity of these billionaires are doing is absolutely not charity. Specifically, funding the film Contagion was presented as philanthropy. to make people aware of pandemics. The reality is this film was a blockbuster star-studded thriller and the return on investment was a 100% increase. Another 60 Minutes outrage was earlier in the year. The show aired the infamous lobbyist Peterson Foundation's agenda to to reduce social safety nets, and even failed to disclose the close ties one of their reporters has to this lobbyist organization.
This ideological bias agenda was glaringly evident in Lesley Stahl’s “Counterinsurgency Cops” story. Viewers weren’t informed that Stahl is on the board of anti-government billionaire Pete Peterson’s Foundation, for example, or that her foundation works closely with the defense contractors of “Fix the Debt.” Those contractors stand to make billions more in taxpayer-funded profits if America’s cities buy into Stahl’s premise and purchase even more military equipment – including tanks, sniperscopes, full battle regalia, night vision goggles, and drones.
There is no more point to watch 60 Minutes anymore than is gluing oneself to the television to view commercials. The show has lost all credibility after decades of hard hitting, fact based reports. What a shame. Yet this is how utterly corrupted the once great investigative journalism show has become.