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Veteran CBS News correspondent Bob Simon experienced something while reporting a “60 Minutes” piece last night, that he’d never before. His story was on Christian residents leaving the Holy Land and the causes behind it: Islamic extremism? Israeli occupation? or something more? Simon interviewed clerics from the Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran faiths, also Palestinian residents of the West Bank, and Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Dr. Michael Oren. But Oren didn’t like the premise of the story and called Simon’s boss, CBS News chairman and “60 Minutes” EP Jeff Fager long before it story aired.
“Mr. Ambassador, I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve received lots of reactions from just about everyone I’ve done stories about. But I’ve never gotten a reaction before from a story that hasn’t been broadcast yet,” said Simon. “Well, there’s a first time for everything, Bob,” said the ambassador.
Oren complained to Fager that Simon was preparing “a hatchet job.” Simon called him out on it. Oren even paused, almost using the word “assumption;” what he assumed the story would be about.
It’s just … that’s an extraordinary move for me to complain about something. When I heard that you were going to do a story about Christians in the Holy Land and my assum… and… and had, I believe, information about the nature of it, and it’s been confirmed by this interview today…
“Nothing’s been confirmed by the interview,” Simon shot back, “Because you don’t know what’s going to be put on air.”
See Simon’s story after the jump…