The PR business made a lot of money back in the 1990s conducting workshops and seminars carrying the scary title, "What to do when '60 Minutes' knocks on your door."
Just the specter of Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, Dan Rather and Ed Bradley had PR people quaking in their boots and forking over cash to harvest pearls of wisdom from crisis experts, who, in reality, never had the opportunity to go mano-a-mano with Mike, Morley, Dan or Ed.
Those sessions bolstered the self-worth of presenters and members of the audience. They are now ancient history because PR "owns" the Sunday TV news magazine.
The bottom rail is now on top at 60 Minutes as its heavyweights complain about being pushed around by sassy PR people.
On second thought, Wallace, Safer, Rather and Ed probably wouldn't have given a single thought of lining up Beyonce,whose monster "Single Ladies" ranked as No. 50 in Rolling Stoneís Top 100 songs of the last decade. [Full disclosure: Beyonce's Single Ladies video is No. 1 on McCauley's list of best videos on the last decade. That doesn't make it 60 Minutes-worthy.]
Beyonce's PR posse showed little respect to 60 Minutes, providing a whopping 90 minutes of face time. Kroft told Friedman that he didn't really like caving to demands of the handlers, but "was pleased to reveal an unseen side of Beyonce to the viewers."
Normally, he said "we don't do interviews like that one." The lesson learned: "don't play ball with Hollywood handlers." Kroft said, "We're not interested in giving people publicity if they've got something to promote."
One hopes that also applies to politicos the next time they try to promote an unnecessary war.
It may be time for journalism groups to run workshops called "Where to run when Hollywood PR sharks start circling your publication."