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Ticking Clock: Behind the Scenes at 60 Minutes Kindle Edition
Two-time Peabody Award-winning writer and producer Ira Rosen reveals the intimate, untold stories of his decades at America’s most iconic news show. It’s a 60 Minutes story on 60 Minutes itself.
When producer Ira Rosen walked into the 60 Minutes offices in June 1980, he knew he was about to enter television history. His career catapulted him to the heights of TV journalism, breaking some of the most important stories in TV news. But behind the scenes was a war room of clashing producers, anchors, and the most formidable 60 Minutes figure: legendary correspondent Mike Wallace.
Based on decades of access and experience, Ira Rosen takes readers behind closed doors to offer an incisive look at the show that invented TV investigative journalism. With surprising humor, charm, and an eye for colorful detail, Rosen delivers an authoritative account of the unforgettable personalities that battled for prestige, credit, and the desire to scoop everyone else in the game. As one of Mike Wallace’s top producers, Rosen reveals the interview secrets that made Wallace’s work legendary, and the flaring temper that made him infamous. Later, as senior producer of ABC News Primetime Live and 20/20, Rosen exposes the competitive environment among famous colleagues like Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters, and the power plays between correspondents Chris Wallace, Anderson Cooper, and Chris Cuomo.
A master class in how TV news is made, Rosen shows readers how 60 Minutes puts together a story when sources are explosive, unreliable, and even dangerous. From unearthing shocking revelations from inside the Trump White House, to an outrageous proposition from Ghislaine Maxwell, to interviewing gangsters Joe Bonanno and John Gotti Jr., Ira Rosen was behind the scenes of some of 60 Minutes' most sensational stories.
Highly entertaining, dishy, and unforgettable, Ticking Clock is a never-before-told account of the most successful news show in American history.
"[A] revealing portrait of American television’s most famous and successful news show...perhaps the book’s most important contribution comes in ratifying the essential role of skilled, tenacious journalism in maintaining a democracy." --Associated Press
"The book details story after story of [Rosen's] efforts to get people to tell him things, and then say those same things on camera...[Mike] Wallace might have been the Picasso of interviewers, but his producer had to be the master of landing them in the first place...the essence of the book involves the stories behind those stories." --Washington Post
About the Author
- ASIN : B089FVQPLW
- Publisher : St. Martin's Press (February 16, 2021)
- Publication date : February 16, 2021
- Language : English
- File size : 13781 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 327 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #331,756 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on September 8, 2021
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Except for a brief stint with ABC Primetime, Ira Rosen spent almost three decades working as a producer for CBS’s 60 Minutes. He worked on a host of famous stories. He worked closely with Mike Wallace, Harry Reasoner, Morley Safer, Lesley Stahl, Ed Bradley, Steve Kroft, Diane Sawyer, Chris Wallace, and other famous correspondents. He worked with many of their famous subjects – politicians, movie stars, gangsters, authors, dictators, He also experienced the stories that got away.
“Ticking Clock: Behind the Scenes at 60 Minutes” is Rosen’s memoir of those years with CBS and ABC. It makes for both surprising and not-so-surprising reading. Most of these news broadcasting legends are gone now, but they helped to shape the world we live in today. And Rosen’s story is as much as ab out the foibles and vanity of the big TV news names as it is about the stories they covered and won prizes for.
We know everyone is flawed. We know ego can play a role in people’s lives and attitudes. But it’s still disappointing to read to what degree so many of these news people were motivated by ego and ambition, and how little “news” might play a role. And it has to do with money. For a long, long time, 60 Minutes was the major moneymaker for CBS. The correspondents often behaved like the celebrities they interviewed, and sometimes behaved like the more notorious. Rosen doesn’t seem at all surprised at the rise of the “me-too” charges that seemed to grow like topsy at top television networks – the conditions had been laid years before.
It’s Mike Wallace, the 60 Minutes star whom Rosen worked with the longest and the most closely, who comes in for particular focus. Wallace was not a pleasant man, either personally or professionally. He could behave brutally, even to his own children. As he aged, his behavior didn’t mellow; if anything, it became worse. He was finally pushed out the door after crossing the wrong boss and thinking he could get away with it.
The descriptions of the good, the bad, and the ugly are balanced by Rosen’s love of his work. And he received numerous Emmy Awards, DuPont Awards, Robert F. Kennedy Awards, and a Peabody for that work. Even before he was hired by 60 Minutes, he was writing award-winning stories about the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island for Rolling Stone. And he knew that to get the real story, he had to ignore the official press conferences and go hang out with the plant workers at the bar after shift-change. He co-authored “The Warning: The Accident at Three Mile Island.”
“Ticking Clock” is an important book for understanding American journalism from 1980 to 2015. It describes how major television news magazines functioned, and both the working and the dysfunction of the major people involved. It’s an important story, but a story tinged with sadness. And then you wonder if the stories themselves required these kinds of personalities to tell them.
Some of the wrongdoing is much in the news today. Bra snapping, unwanted kisses and hugs, indecent proposals, late-night bedroom visits, bottom groping, and other such unseeming behavior seems to be a staple around the studio. Public desire for the details of such conduct is also high. Details about such behavior are everyday occurrences with newspaper accounts, magazine articles, and TV coverage flooding current news with never-ending revelations leading to the damage of many careers in the public eye, although not as many as might be expected.
Damaged careers, according to Rosen’s account, don’t get much attention. Even public disclosure doesn’t appear to slow the behavior down, seemingly adding another feather in the headdress of the famous. The more the reports become public, the more the allegations grow. Easy money and fame seem to flow to the accusers, while not much happens to the perpetrator. Public displeasure seems tepid at best. I have to confess, however, to my own interest to such behavior. I enjoy reading reputable accounts of such behavior for some reason I can’t explain, a shortcoming no doubt connected to my nosiness. Rosen’s is certainly credible.
Rosen is no hack writer that looks in every corner for something nefarious going on. His research is extensive and well-grounded. The conduct is egregious and should not have widespread acceptance. But there you have it. Rosen found it to be alive and well and decided to tell us about it. Why? He’ll explain that somewhat in his book, although I’m not sure I picked up on it completely. No doubt residuals and royalties in the publication of his book had something to do with it. I would be more likely to read about it in a well-published and edited book than I would in a scandal mag. Something to do with credibility, I suppose.
If you are of the same bent, read this book. I can guarantee you will enjoy it.
Schuyler T Wallace
Author of TIN LIZARD TALES