Disclosure is ’60’s’ plan of ‘Attack’

Wallace to point out book connection in Woodward talk

Another Simon & Schuster book about the Bush administration is slated to be featured on CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” but this time, the newsmag will make sure to disclose that the publishing house is a sister Viacom division.

“60 Minutes” correspondent Mike Wallace will make the disclosure when interviewing investigative journalist Bob Woodward about Woodward’s new book “Plan of Attack,” which dissects the decisions leading to the Iraq War.

An official airdate has yet to be announced, but the Woodward segment is tentatively slated for April 18, two days before the book hits the stands.

“Making the disclosure is a function of how polarized the country is. If a few seconds on air will preclude any criticism, so be it,” one CBS News exec said.

Last month, “60 Minutes” came under fire from Republicans for failing to disclose its ties to Simon & Schuster when profiling former Bush administration counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke, whose new book says the White House ignored threats of an Al Qaeda attack in the weeks leading up to 9/11. On Sunday’s broadcast, Diane Sawyer made note of the connection and apologized.

Bush group split

Like Clarke’s book, Woodward’s “Plan of Attack” could be damaging for the White House. Book is expected to reveal deep divisions within the Bush administration over waging war in Iraq.

Longtime “60 Minutes” exec producer Don Hewitt, who is stepping down in May after a 36-year-run, has never instituted a blanket policy regarding such disclosures.

Of the 16 book-related stories aired on the newsmag since Viacom closed its merger with CBS in May 2000, Simon & Schuster published six of the books, according to a list compiled by the news net. Woodward’s book will mark No. 7. However, not all these stories featured the author or book prominently.

“Don Hewitt looks for one thing –big, newsmaking stories, no matter who publishes them. The books that are featured meet that challenge,” a news exec said.

Simon & Schuster is recognized for its political titles.

Spinoff newsmag “60 Minutes II” has a blanket disclosure policy when a sister Viacom division is in any way involved.

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