December 26, 2005

‘60 Minutes’ With Fewer Commercials

Posted by Eric Jaffa
Sunday October 23rd 2005, 4:41 pm
Filed under: Media Watch, TV

Tonight I watched the special episode of “60 Minutes” with fewer commercials.

One of the reports was a puff-piece on former basketball star Michael Jordan.

The report mentioned a controversy over Jordan’s gambling, but Ed Bradley didn’t ask Jordan if he ever gambled on basketball.

Jordan has a book coming out this week. The report noted that book is published by a sister company of CBS.

Did CBS reduce the number-of-minutes of sponsored commercials to spend more time promoting a book published by an affiliate?

2 Comments so far

Do you think that it is possible that the NBA could have its own Pete Rose? The NBA would never have it because Jordan transcended the sport and lifted it to levels no one else could. The NBA could not risk this type of bad PR. Jordan still means too much to the game. Although, I would not put it passed Jordan to do such a thing. He is self proclaimed “most competitive person on Earth”.

As far as CBS using the the single sponsor approach to promote the book, yeah its possible. Worse things have happened. I did however enjoy less commercials.

Comment by Ben Scott 10.24.05 @ 6:01 am

Ben Scott-

Here is an article on Michael Jordan’s gambling which raises that issue:

But now, in 1993, Jordan was on strike two and a half. During this second, and much more thorough investigation, the league was to discover that not only were the amounts involved larger, but also that the accusations were much more damning. According to the book Money Players: Days and Nights Inside the New NBA, in July 1993 the NBA interviewed Esquinas in its New York offices. During that interview, Esquinas told the investigators that in March of 1992, he had overheard a telephone conversation Jordan was having with an unknown person. During that phone call, Jordan talked about a betting line; saying “So you say the line is seven points.” [7] Of what game, it is unknown. But this was a serious accusation. If Jordan was indeed gambling on sports, then he had broken that sacred, unwritten rule for professional athletes.

The question is, how credible did the NBA think this allegation was? I think they took it as quite credible. They most definitely did not want Jordan to become the NBA’s version of Pete Rose, who was a certain Hall of Famer in baseball until he was suspended for life over gambling. Rose, the all-time hits leader in the MLB, never made it into the Hall of Fame despite all of his on the field accomplishments because off the field, he was a sports gambler.

Baseball was more than Pete Rose. But Jordan was more than basketball. He was Nike. He was McDonalds. He was Chevrolet. He was even considered a national hero by winning a gold medal for Team USA (the “Dream Team”) in the 1992 Olympics. Jordan meant a lot of money to a lot of people. $40 million dollars a year in endorsement deals alone. And here it seemed that he was spinning out of control. Inching closer and closer to a revelation that would not only bring down a man, but what seemed like an American institution.

What was potentially even more threatening to the league than MJ’s gambling was the fact that he was consistently associating with seeming criminals. He was putting himself in a position where he could easily be blackmailed. Perhaps blackmailed into doing something on the court like shaving points or worse – throwing games. I think at this point the NBA and Commissioner David Stern stepped in and talked to Michael Jordan about “retirement.”


Ed Bradley asking Michael Jordan is he considers himself a compulsive gambler or not doesn’t address the real issue.

Comment by Eric Jaffa 10.24.05 @ 6:23 am

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