60 Minutes Creator Don Hewitt Dies
Television news is the way it is today -- or, at least the way it was, before it was crowded out by satire and the carnival atmosphere of cable bloviating -- because of Don Hewitt. The newsman died today at 86 after a long career that included production of the Nixon/Kennedy debates for television, behind-the-scenes direction of Walter Cronkite and Edgar R. Murrow, the pioneering of methods that would lead to the TelePrompTer, and the creation of 60 Minutes. I know you're taking a moment to appreciate all those achievements while simultaneously wondering, "Which one was he in The Insider?" so let me answer that, too.
He was the one played by Philip Baker Hall in that movie -- and not in a particularly flattering way, as The Insider posited that Hewitt unceremoniously caved on pressure to censor the interview Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) conducted with Jeffrey Wigand (Russsell Crowe). Hewitt wasn't happy about the film's spin on things and accused Bergman and director Michael Mann of revisionist history.
Still: lots of accomplishments. Rest in peace.