Charles Goyette Interviews Robert MacNeil

Charles Goyette, April 10, 2007

Robert MacNeil discusses the new PBS special series “America at the Crossroads,” the origin of the project, Martin Smith’s Frontline contribution to the project about America training the Iran-backed militias in Iraq, Richard Perle’s bald face lies in defense of the mass slaughter he has perpetrated, Islam in Indonesia and the national government’s abuse of the PATRIOT Act.

MP3 here. (16:25)

Robert MacNeil was born in Montreal, Quebec, in 1931, and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia. After graduating from Carleton University in Ottawa in 1955, he moved to London, England, where he worked first for Reuters News Agency and then for the National Broadcasting Corporation. From 1963 to 1967, he was a correspondent for NBC in Washington and New York City. From 1967 to 1971, he covered American and European politics for the British Broadcasting Corporation.

After he returned to Washington, MacNeil co-anchored (with Jim Lehrer) coverage by the Public Broadcasting Service of the Senate Watergate Hearings, for which he won the first of several Emmy awards. In October 1975, he and Lehrer launched a half-hour nightly news program, “The Robert MacNeil Report with Jim Lehrer” (later “The MacNeil/Lehrer Report”), which dealt with a single issue each night. Eight years later, this innovative approach was expanded to “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour,” the first hour-long evening news program in the United States. “NewsHour” continues to earn major broadcasting awards a decade later.

Robert MacNeil has written several books, including The People Machine: The Influence of Television on American Politics, The Story of English (with Robert McCrum and William Cran) and two memoirs, The Right Place at the Right Time and Wordstruck. His first novel, Burden of Desire, is set in Nova Scotia during the First World War. He is currently completing a second novel.

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