Though Don Hewitt is no longer the executive producer of 60 Minutes, tonight’s first story was researched, reported, edited and approved on his watch. The story concerned the Patriot Missile system and its shortcomings.
I have no problem with the facts as reported. I wouldn’t know if they were wrong anyway. That’s an interesting part of the news business. The giver of news must establish that his organization is absolutely trustworthy.
That’s why what I saw, though a minor point, irks me so much.
In the story, I watched a Patriot Missile during the first Gulf War shoot down a Scud. As the two hit, an explosion filled the center of the screen with bright light and a large boom was heard.
In real life, the boom is heard long after the light! The speed of light is much faster that the speed of sound.
Since I had recorded this show, I rolled the video back to look and make sure I had seen what I thought I’d seen. There is no doubt, on 60 Minutes the light and sound happened at the same instant.
For these two events to have taken place contemporaneously the camera had to be real close (it wasn’t) or someone screwed with the tape to provide a look that was consistent with what people expect.
This was the wrong thing to do. There are no small lies in the news business.