Tonight, 60 Minutes found itself at the center of headlines courtesy of one segment more than any other: The family separation policy instituted by the Trump Administration over the past year. It’s a segment that has already angered the President (who referred to the show as “fake’ on Twitter), and it’s certainly drawing big reactions from a number of social-media corners.
So why does a segment on 60 Minutes end up getting so much more attention from the President, and others, than a segment on a show like Last Week Tonight, a morning news interview show, or really any other news magazine out there? Well, a lot of it comes down to two different things: Reputation and strength, which could be otherwise known as reputation and the show’s ratings.
When it comes to its status as a reputable news source, 60 Minutes has long been thought of as an unbiased news source. There’s a reason why so many of its journalists have won awards, and somehow, they’ve been able to avoid the polarizing discourse of media over the past couple of years (at least for the most part). They’ve tried their best to stay true to their mission statement.
Perhaps more so why Trump is coming after the show specifically now, though, is its performance in the ratings. 60 Minutes is influential just because of how many viewers it reaches. We’re talking about a program that has posted more than 11 million live viewers on average this season, and the ratings for Sunday’s episode likely far surpass that given that it aired immediately after an NFL game. These are numbers that are influential and impossible-to-ignore. It’s easier for Washington to look away from other talk shows that tend to get lost in the shuffle, but 60 Minutes? This is a series that has a large national audience, including in both red states and blue states. Their perspective is something that could sway viewers, hence why there is such a response to their segment.
If you’ve watched a number of other news-based programs, there may not be that much information in this family-separation segment that is altogether surprising. Yet, this is 60 Minutes. This is a show that reaches many people who never watch said programs. This is why the story tonight, and the reaction to the story, is important. Also, this is why we should pay attention to what 60 Minutes is saying and reporting in a way we rarely do other media outlets — no matter what the subject or what political party it could end up hurting.
Why do you think that 60 Minutes is striking so much ire and discussion for their segment tonight, more so than many other shows that have taken on the family-separation policy? Be sure to share some of your thoughts in the comments and stay tuned for some more updates. (Photo: CBS.)