Paul Wesslund is a long-time contributor to Forward Kentucky, and a former editor and a current published author. Recently, he watched the interview by Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes of Marjorie Taylor Greene, then afterward, he wrote the following email to the show’s producers.
Dear production team of 60 Minutes:
I’ve been a regular 60 Minutes viewer since the 1960s, but Sunday’s Marjorie Taylor Greene segment showed a dangerous lapse in quality.
I don’t object to you featuring controversial subjects – but when a guest’s views are destructive and factually incorrect, they need to be held to account, and the Greene interview was an epic fail.
The only reference to her leading role in the January 6 coup attempt, including last month’s prison visit praising those convicted of an insurrection that killed and injured law enforcement people, was an unchallenged clip of her repeating the lie that the election was stolen. Any interview with her that doesn’t drill down into her participation in the coordinated effort to overthrow the U.S. government gives a wildly misleading characterization of who she is.
Similarly, when Greene accused president Biden and even the entire Democratic Party of being pedophiles, the response of “wow” did nothing to require Greene to justify one of the most outrageous statements I’ve ever seen on a news show.
In letting Greene elaborate, she was allowed, unchallenged, to change the definition of “pedophile.” She claimed it meant sexualizing children (a nonsensical statement) rather than the dictionary meaning, which is someone who is sexually attracted to young children. That’s the definition most people understand.
In other words, you let Greene get away with saying that the president of the United States is sexually attracted to young children and you offered no substantive challenge or demand for proof.
Greene’s is the kind of claim that incited the 2016 “pizzagate” incident when an assault weapon was fired in a Washington, D.C., restaurant by a man looking for a Hillary Clinton sex-slave ring.
Greene’s lies and misdirection are central to what’s tearing this country apart. Your presentation of her as just another celebrity with, oh, maybe some unusual political views, does what too many other media outlets are doing to normalize the incredibly serious threats to civil society and even democracy. I’ve always thought 60 Minutes was better than that.