[John Callaway interviews Howard Cosell]

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0:00 Count-in, WTTW titles.

0:15 Intro. Callaway: What is the difference between the performer and the newscaster?

0:35 Cosell talks about not liking Woody Allen because he kept him out of a card game with cast members of “The Dirty Dozen.” After seeing him play clarinet and getting an explanation, they became friends, and Cosell agreed to appear in “Bananas.” He says he sees more legitimacy in performing in a comedy film than covering college ball, where nobody is seeking a college degree.

3:00 Callaway talks about Cosell as a performer. Title.

3:35 Callaway asks why the Super Bowl has gotten so boring. Cosell says it’s “a corporate enterprise” and more of a spectacle than an actual good game. He says he finds the spectacle outrageous.

5:05 Callaway asks Cosell about how he reconciles his views of over-emphasized sports in the US, as well as sports’ importance. Cosell says that “the doctrine of winning” and “sanctimony of sports” result in “the sports syndrome” in the US.

6:50 Callaway accuses Cosell of inspiring a new generation of writers who emphasize the “wrong” kind of news reporting. Cosell thinks that sports pages are just made for gambling. Cosell complains about university sports.

8:40 Callaway asks whether sportswriters exist who demystify sport as he recomments. Cosell recommends Frank Defort, Jim Murray. Cosell says he does not consider Red Smith among these great journalists, though he owes much to him. Cosell says that Smith “has forfeited himself” by lending his opinions to Apartheid.

10:30 Callaway asks why Cosell didn’t immediately go into broadcast sports. Cosell says it was only circumstance: first, his youth, then World War II. Eventually he got into broadcasting through legally representing sports-related clients.

13:36 Callaway gives a short introduction to Cosell’s coverage of the Munich Olympics assassinations. Callaway asks if there’s any future for the Olympics.

14:06 Cosell says he doesn’t know what the future holds, but it doesn’t look good. Callaway asks about the politicization of the Olympics. Cosell talks about how deeply these politics are tied to the event, and how much a neutral site is needed.

16:42 Cosell talks about his insecurities stemming from having been brought up a Jew in Brooklyn during the years of Hitler, and being brought up in a poor family. He says that one thing he’s sure of is his job, but he has many insecurities just as a Jewish person.

20:58 Callaway asks why Cosell doesn’t practice his faith, and where he stands religiously. Cosell says he’s never been involved in organized religion, but always involved with the human race, which he says is a form of religion in itself.

22:15 Callaway asks about Cosell’s father. Cosell says his father was a good father, but not a good husband, and was a “very limited man.” He says his parents’ poor marriage has made his marriage better.

23:30 Callaway asks what makes Cosell’s marriage to his wife Emmie so strong. Cosell says this is due to moral ethics, values, standards, integrity.

24:25 Callaway asks about Cosell’s close relationships with varied types of men. Cosell talks about Colonel Blake. Tells the story of “the lonely end,” Colonel Blake’s supposed folly, who was eventually killed in Vietnam.

30:40 Cosell talks about Muhammed Ali. He says he supported Ali out of constitutional law rather than anything personal.

31:15 Cosell talks about Jackie Robinson: “they don’t make human beings like that anymore, maybe they never will again. He was unconquerable.”

32:45 Cosell talks about Vince Lombardi. He worked with players “not with punishment, but with belief.”

35:25 Callaway talks about Gary Deeb’s unflattering opinions on Howard Cosell.

36:30 Callaway asks Cosell about handling Gary Deeb. Cosell says “he’s beneath me.” Cosell handles accusations that conversations between Cosell and Ali were scripted. Cosell and Callaway argue over payment for interviews. Cosell says that sports players are entertainers and performers, and it makes no less sense for them to be paid than newscasters.

40:00 Cosell talks about problems with sports departments being run by news departments. Cosell says that sports is much more difficult, because rights acquisitions are so important, something that newsmen don’t understand.

41:38 Callaway asks if so much high-profile football sports coverage is part of the problem. Cosell responds that it isn’t productive, but leaving sports doesn’t serve anyone. He says that his high profile allows less biased coverage than other reporting.

43:45 Callaway claims that Cosell’s enthusiasm about sports undermines his journalistic opinion that sports are given too much importance. Cosell dodges the question and instead comments on the way he is torn apart in the press. Callaway attributes this to a) anti-Semitism, and b) an American tendency to dislike anyone who is right so much of the time.

48:00 Callaway asks if the hyped-up atmosphere of Monday Night Football is over-the top. Cosell says that Monday Night Football is not overhyped, it’s just an out-of-control event.

49:00 Callaway asks what a fan’s responsibilities and expectations should be in a city (such as Chicago) where no team ever seems to win. Cosell says fans can expect a safe, clean ballpark, an interesting team over a period of 5-7 years. Cosell says that “the growth of the whole sports syndrome is the failure of the media.”

50:55 Cosell talks about how cable media will completely change network sports, but that ABC will always be seen as the leader of sports coverage.

52:10 Callaway talks about Cosell’s repeated announcements that he can no longer continue covering such trivial subject matter. Cosell says he is now consigned to the career. Cosell says he thinks it’s too late for him to get into politics, “because it’s my determination. “

53:55 Callaway asks “Where are you, politically?” Cosell says that he politically stands as a humanist, though he sees Roosevelt, Truman, and Johnson as tremendous presidents.

54:35 Callaway asks what Cosell thinks of the market system. Cosell says he doesn’t think it’s possible to expan d the military and reduce taxes at the same time, and that government sponsorship of corporate interests are no good.

55:50 Callaway asks again why Cosell should avoid a career that he seems so suited for. Cosell says he has even more impact in his current job than he could have in a short career as a senator. He says that it’s important to have somebody in sports who knows that there are more important issues in society.

57:55 End credits.

58:37 END



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