Sunday, February 10, 2013

"60 Minutes" on February 10, 2013: not right on "Lincoln"

First story. Nick Frazier: "It wasn't one, two, or three bullets. It was hundreds." Description of part of the Al Qaeda attack in Algeria. Wednesday, January 16, 2013. The Americans work for BP. There were 8 Americans: three died, five survived. "60 Minutes" interviewed three of them. There were 800 workers in all, mostly Algerian. Cobb was the manager of the facility. Cobb called his daughter-in-law; his son was on a rig in Gulf of Mexico. Steve Wasaki hid under a desk. Gordon Rowan, a senior engineer, was captured, and later died.

[Separately, Al Qaeda-linked group holding at least 3 Americans hostage after taking control of Algerian gas field

Second story. As many as 40 million Americans have a mistake on their credit report. Steve Kroft does the story, and notes that mistakes can be costly. 20 million of the mistakes are significant. These mistakes can be difficult to correct.
Experian, Transunion, Equifax. An 8 year FTC report is to be released tomorrow. Jon Leibowitz of the FTC notes that there is a 20% error rate. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. Violations of Fair Credit Reporting Act. The US Law says if there is a mistake, the credit agencies have to make a reasonable effort to correct the mistake. An analogy to the wizard of Oz behind the curtain. Kroft dialed a number for a credit agency, and reached someone in India. Sandra Cortez story; David Smith, a retired Army officer; Judy Thomas. "They don't care." Her case began in 1999. She applied for a store credit card and was denied. The credit reports the credit agency sends to you is NOT the same as the credit reports sent to banks. Judy Thomas vs. Judith Kendall. Thomas hired a local attorney but this did not help. Finally, Judy Thomas sued Equifax and Transunion in court, and there was finally a settlement. Kroft went to Santiago, Chile where employees/invetigators for Experian worked. All they did was give the complaint a two digit code. Disputes were resolved in favor of the creditor. Len Bennett and Cynthia Goldschmidt bring suits against the credit agencies. Bennett asserts that dispute resolution procedures do not comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. A spokesman for the industry states that the industry is in compliance with the law.

Third story. Spielberg's attempt at historical accuracy in "Lincoln."
Lesley Stahl on Lincoln, the movie by Spielberg. Numerous references to Lincoln having a high-pitched voice. Scene following the Battle of Petersburg. Story about a Jefferson City lawyer with a parrot. Same rugs, same books, same watch. Spielberg wore a suit during the production. Lincoln with Tad. The piece by Stahl relied heavily on comments by historian [and plagiarist] Doris Kearns-Goodwin. The piece did NOT mention the error in the movie concerning the votes of Congressmen from Connecticut on the proposed 13th Amendment.

UPDATE: As to the allegation that Lincoln is "historically accurate," note the following text concerning a response by the Lincoln screenwriter concerning the Connecticut flap:

Now, [Lincoln screenwriter Tony] Kushner has struck back at Courtney with his own letter (letters: so hot right now), noting that as screenwriter he had creative license to do what he saw fit with the story, within reason (via The Wall Street Journal).

Rep. Courtney is correct that the four members of the Connecticut delegation voted for the amendment. We changed two of the delegation’s votes, and we made up new names for the men casting those votes, so as not to ascribe any actions to actual persons who didn’t perform them. In the movie, the voting is also organized by state, which is not the practice in the House. These alterations were made to clarify to the audience the historical reality that the Thirteenth Amendment passed by a very narrow margin that wasn’t determined until the end of the vote. The closeness of that vote and the means by which it came about was the story we wanted to tell. In making changes to the voting sequence, we adhered to time-honored and completely legitimate standards for the creation of historical drama, which is what Lincoln is. I hope nobody is shocked to learn that I also made up dialogue and imagined encounters and invented characters.


from post Joe Courtney 'Lincoln' Critique Slammed By Screenwriter Tony Kushner

Thus, as to Lesley Stahl's accuracy, the rugs, books, and watch may have been replicas, but the people, and their actions, were not.
Recall earlier issues with Stahl's reporting on the Kanzius matter.


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