I grew up watching Morley Safer. I never met the man but I’ve always called him by his first name. In short, he was my favorite 60 Minute Man. I loved his raspy/silky voice, perfect diction, and elegant prose. I missed seeing him during my boycott of his program because of the whole Lara Logan mishigas. To their credit, Morley and Steve Kroft tried to get her lying ass fired, but they lost the battle. It was typical of Morley who was a street fighter despite his gentlemanly demeanor. Morley Safer died earlier today at the age of 84 after being retired for what seemed like 60 seconds.
I just read Doug Brinkley’s fine biography of Walter Cronkite. Morley played a supporting role in the book from the mid-Sixties on as one of Cronkite’s friends and proteges at CBS News. Cronkite defended Morley’s reporting from Vietnam and instead of getting fired for-in LBJ’s memorable words-“shitting on the American flag,” Morley became a star after joining 60 Minutes. I’m going to play some of Morley’s greatest hits in tribute to a great reporter and even better writer. With Morley it was all in the words.
We begin with Morley discussing a prank he played on his frenemy Mike Wallace:
Some of Morley’s best stories were set in the art world. Here are two of my favorites. The first is an ode to the great Edward Hopper, and the second story is a profile of the world-class forger David Stein:
One more clip. Here’s an interview with Morley about his legendary Cam Ne story, which showed American soldiers torching huts in a Vietnamese village:
I’m glad that I saw the 60 Minutes tribute to Morley last Sunday night. I suspended my boycott just for him amd I’m glad I did. He will be missed.