Oct 302017
Matisse,  MoMA, and Me

I had done many cultural programs for CBS. I had either coached or written one-hour broadcasts featuring Stravinsky, Casals, Picasso, Gauguin and the Julliard music school. The obligation to broadcast high culture might have been a legal and moral duty, but in financial terms high art meant low ratings. When public broadcasting became of age, Read More

Oct 162017
How Odd of God

During those last days at CBS, I received a call from Lee Boltin, who had been the chief still photographer at the American Museum of Natural History. He left the Museum to work for the Rockefellers. Whenever Laurance Rockefeller or members of his family went on expeditions, Lee was called in for photographic documentation. He Read More

Oct 022017
The End of the Affair

…came from several lines in The Moon Above, The Earth Below, broadcast twenty years after the first lunar landing. In the years after that glory, a great deal of hidden information became public. Two decades later, “Man on the moon!” was a pleasant memory rather than an awesome anniversary. Twenty years later I wrote and Read More

Sep 192017
All Jobs are Mortal

In 1980, it was announced that Walter Cronkite would leave CBS News. There were two leading candidates. Roger Mudd, a brilliant correspondent who had ended Teddy Kennedy’s presidential hopes with a devastating interview and who had anchored The Selling of the Pentagon. Or Dan Rather, who had covered Vietnam over a long period and done Read More

Sep 172017
Fade up from Black

I became the CBS News specialist in black documentaries. I knew no blacks when I grew up. None at kindergarten, none at grade school. When we became middle-middle class, Bess hired a schwarze for heavy cleaning half a day on Thursday. I paid no attention to her; she paid no attention to me. There were Read More

Sep 112017
An Essay on the Mafia

I wrote an investigative report on the Mafia. When it was screened for the officers of CBS News I was told to get out of town at once, even before broadcast. What we didn’t know was that the Mafia was investigating us. The mob’s expert was the elevator operator at 115 west 45th, a building Read More

Aug 302017
Walter Cronkite Never Liked Me

I was the executive producer of The Selling of the Pentagon. Broadcast scholars now say that program was the most important documentary in the history of electronic journalism. I spent tense hours in the editing rooms working with the producer, Peter Davis. The scope of the First Amendment was tested by the war in Vietnam Read More

Aug 282017
Ghosting a Ghost

I was asked to write a speech for William Paley, then Chairman of the Board of CBS. The Emmy managers wanted to recognize him for his service to broadcasting. Paley had not been satisfied with the drafts his speechwriters had given him, so the job was passed to me. I don’t remember what I wrote, Read More

Aug 212017
Project Nassau

I was coach or player on some two hundred documentaries. I faced polite competition within CBS News, particularly from the newsmen who reported on a daily or weekly basis. They called themselves “hard news” and because documentaries took more time, the phallic overtone was obvious. In those early days, there was a common problem for Read More