Friday, April 13, 2007


By Bob Herbert.

You knew something was up early in the day. As soon as I told executives at MSNBC that I was going to write about the “60 Minutes” piece, which was already in pretty wide circulation, they began acting very weird. We'll get back to you, they said.

In a “60 Minutes” interview with Don Imus broadcast in July 1998, Mike Wallace said of the “Imus in the Morning” program, “It's dirty and sometimes racist.”

Imus then said: “Give me an example. Give me one example of one racist incident.” To which Wallace replied, “You told Tom Anderson, the producer, in your car, coming home, that Bernard McGuirk is there to do nigger jokes.”

Imus said, “Well, I've nev — I never use that word.”

Wallace then turned to Anderson, his producer. “Tom,” he said.

“I'm right here,” said Anderson.

Imus then said to Anderson, “Did I use that word?”

Anderson said, “I recall you using that word.”

“Oh, OK,” said Imus. “Well, then I used that word. But I mean — of course, that was an off-the-record conversation. But —— ”

“The hell it was,” said Wallace.

The transcript was pure poison. A source very close to Imus told me Wednesday night, “They did not want to wait for your piece to come out.”

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