The February 18 edition of the CBS show, “60 Minutes,” did a segment on the extent to which the De Beers company controls the diamond industry throughout the world. Interviewed for this spot was James Twitchell of the University of Florida. When asked if there was ever a time in history when one institution exercised this much control, he replied, “Holy Roman Catholic Church, which was selling a different kind of product—salvation, generically.”
What was going through Twitchell’s head is anyone’s guess. But “60 Minutes,” which allows most of its footage to wind up on the cutting room floor, found it necessary to air this classic non sequitur. Which makes us wonder. That is why we wrote a letter of protest to Don Hewitt, the program’s executive producer.