What Did You Think of the 60 Minutes Y2K Report?

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Watched "60 Minutes" piece on Y2K. For a few minutes they looked like they were on a roll then they ?? ran out of time??? Comments?

-- Kitty in VA (kittyfelton@webtv.net), November 29, 1998


Kitty, I thought it was going suprisingly well and then lost a ton of momentum with the guitar strumming folk song. And then continued downhill to the end when the MIT prof scoffed at the prospect of major problems.

I asked my wife her opinion as a non-geek. She felt that it would not have any impact on our DGI friends and relatives.

Tomorrow's financial markets may be interesting to watch.


-- MVI (vtoc@aol.com), November 29, 1998.

I sent CBS the following e-mail:

Your piece tonight on Y2K was, I hope, only the first of what needs to be many stories on the subject.

While your information was accurate, the general public is not aware of the need to prepare for what may be a global catastrophe.

Future shows, I hope, will emphasize the need for individuals and communities to prepare for potentially widespread and lengthy disruptions in the power grid, communications, banking, and other industries, as well as governmental services.

This is a huge story. Much more coverage is needed.


Short and sweet, I guess, but to the point. The network honchos aren't capable of in-depth analysis, IMHO. I give 60 minutes credit for doing an OK story, but think they lacked the balls to do the full, investigative piece they are known for. Perhaps next year... I won't hold my breath, however.

-- Steve Hartsman (hartsman@ticon.net), November 29, 1998.

A quick response: I was holding our crying daughter and didn't hear too much at all...will listen to the tape later. What I wanted to say now is this: Heard the guitar player (sad!), heard the MIT Prof (sad commentary, "we are all fallible humans. We are bound to be wrong sometimes." What does this mean? Sounds like a Prof. and some preachers I have talked to about Y2K); then the final comment: Hey, want to know what your personal computers are going to hold up? Better check them. This is the last word to the audience? What went before? I'll listen to the tape and find out.

-- Joe (jba@there.com), November 29, 1998.

IBID - I thought the show was progressing relatively well - I was surprised they even mentioned the fact that a potential bank deposit may just disappear. But, sadly, it took a serious turn for the worse. The story, on the whole, reminds me of the Mary Poppins tune "just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down..." After giving the American people just a taste of the sour y2k medicine, 60 minutes gave them a heary dose of white, granulated, processed sugar. The folk song, the authorative voice (with no authority/sources to back him up) stating we will not have to worry about a y2k catastrophe - the kind the y2k panic folks insist on (is he referring to us?) - and then sizzling out to an uneventful end, I am definately disappointed.

-- Christine A. Newbie (vaganti01@aol.com), November 29, 1998.

Well, I only learned this, we're all smarter than that computer professor at MIT!!!

I wonder if this report will actually make anyone think.

Mike ====================================================================

-- Michael Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), November 29, 1998.

I think the story started out strong and then fizzeled. The ending was real bummer and very disappointing. I could have done without the song, but guess it added balance? I do not understand why it was included except to take up time that could have been used for a more indepth report. I had a DBI call and say she was watching so she might be a FGI. This is probably the first of many stories that we will see. It is now in the mainstream news and it will not go away. Investigative reprting will follow, if for no other reson then ratings. The public will be made aware whether they want to know or not. (Example:the Clinton Scandal) Personaly, I did not think it would hit the mainstream news until March. I am surprised that 60 Minute aired it tonight. CNN had a couple of different segments today, the USA Today story, New York Times and 60 Minutes made this weekend Y2K Information Weekend. The snowball is beginning to roll. Get out of the way and get prepared.

-- Linda A. (adahi@muhlon.com), November 29, 1998.

I was dissappointed! I thought that it would be motivating enough to get people out there to start preparing. After what I heard...maybe a few people will be checking to see if their computers will be working!!! Maybe they are just testing the water (oops!)and soon y2k will be heard about every day on t.v. and preparing will be an everyday thing too. Would be a little crazy out there in the stores, but might minimize the PANIC later! I don't know. Sure do wish we all KNEW for sure just how bad it will be!!! Blondie

-- Blondie Marie (Blondie@future.net), November 29, 1998.

It could have been worse. CBS could have waited until January to put something like this on.

It could have been an expose of firms trying to make a quick buck off of Y2K. Or, it could have been a look at "Y2K Survivalists."

The biggest problem with "60 Minutes" tonight was not giving the impression that indeed, concern is appropriate and so is preparation. The facts were there, but there was not a trace of urgency in the report.

The facts? Most of the facts were in this story, but not followed to their logical conclusion. Example: one story said power utilities could be late. Another story said 80% to 90% of computers in the U.S. would be working.

What if that 10% to 20% in the U.S. not compliant happened to be in the power company for your area? I also think the "60 Minute" segment covered the "corrupted data being passed back and forth in a network" idea well. CBS could have said a lot more about foreign countries-- how 50% of the companies in Germany and Japan will experience a mission critical IT failure in 2000.

"60 Minutes" should have covered Y2K like this a year ago. I'm surprised though that this coverage happened today--I thought we wouldn't see anything this thorough until January of 1999. There was enough in tonight's segment for any thinking person to realize serious problems are possible if too much is unfinished.

The guy from MIT did take any urgency the segment had out of it. But he did say that we'll only have "a few major problems." How do you define "few", and how do you define "major"?

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), November 30, 1998.

Well, about all I can say for the 60-Minutes program is, its a start.

And to Paul Milne, on another thread, there arent words enough to describe your cavalier attitude towards the rest of the world. You, sir, have NO humanity in your soul. I consider you to be a big part of the problem at this timing. Definately NOT part of any solution except for your own selfish self! Your own words, in this post, just stripped away the thin veneer of human civilization you carry around you and also exposed the savagery beneath your surface, ticking away inside, like your own personal time bomb. Very sad. -- Diane

Now, I decided to do an exit poll of my 77-year-old, WWII veteran mother, who thinks they will take care of the Y2K problem. Had her watch 60-Minutes then tell me what she thought.

Q -- Do you think there is a problem now? A -- Yes. Its a good idea to be self-sufficient for a few weeks. Guess more people will become aware after this.

Q -- What do you think you should you do to get ready? A -- Its important to keep duplicates of all records in case they get messed up. Keep careful records, and be sure you get the actual checks you write back from the bank, not just an electronic summary.

Q -- What do you think you should do about money? How about the stock market? A -- Well, I think Ill hold onto any checks I get, and not deposit them until the problems are worked out, so they wont lose it then. Its also a good idea to have money around, but not too much, so it wont get taken away. A better idea is to put the money into real goods, so I have something I dont have to buy when prices are higher. With the stock market, theyll just shut it down temporarily. I have to keep good records. My money will be okay when they bring it back up.


Q -- What do you think you should do about food and water? A -- I need to stock up on supplies during all of next year. Each time people get a paycheck, they should buy some more food throughout the year, so the grocery stores can re-stock. Dont wait until the last minute for your own sake and that of the economy. Pay attention to the shelf life of foods purchased. They should publish information about the shelf life of foods and medicine. I need to have trade goods and I need to work out having help groups with the neighbors to band together and help one another. I also need to check on the supply lists put out by the government and emergency groups for earthquakes, fire, floods, and civil unrest. Need to prepare with those ideas. I also need to collect that information ahead of time and not wait until the last minute.

Q -- Speaking of medicine, and health care, because the health care industry is one of the more technology dependent areas and one thats the furthest behind, what should you do about that? A -- Hum. Health care can be quite a problem for those dependant on medicine. Anything that needs to be done should be done as soon as possible while insurance can still take care of it, in case the records are messed up. Think I need to have a copy of my medical records. I need to concentrate on getting as healthy as I can so I can survive the difficult times.

Q -- What else will you need to do? A -- Have my dental check-up and get any dental work done early. I need to stock up on pain-killers, aspirin and tylenol. Need spare glasses. Need to pay attention to anything one is totally dependent on for life support. Have extra. Its kind of morbid but the city governments need to have a good supply of body bags on hand for people who die and cant be buried right away.

Q -- Mom, some estimates are that the electricity will be out for as little as two weeks to three months, or more. What should you do to get ready? A -- I need to buy or build a solar cooker. I can use the fireplace for warmth. Need lots of warm clothing. If its really cold weather, I should have one room in the house thats well-insulated. I could even set up a tent in the living room to keep warmer. That means people need to have camping equipment. I guess I need to plan on not having gas for the car or depend upon public water or electricity. I need a camp stove with fuel cartridges, and a good supply of food I dont have to cook. A manual can opener.

Q -- What about water? Suppose you run out? A -- Well, I need to start saving containers now and towards the end of next year fill them. I need to learn how to treat the water. Ill need a water purification unit, the kind used for camping. I also need a supply of water purification tablets. If I run out, Ill need help hauling water from the creek or from the local reservoir, and something to haul it in. People also need to have containers for the rain water.

Q -- What else would you need? What about sewers not working? A -- Tools. Shovels to dig holes for human waste, and use something like the composting toilets that add something, a chemical disinfectant or else pete moss each time its used. Need to teach people how to not spread disease.

Q -- What about people with children? A -- People with babies should have cloth diapers, not the throw away kind. They need medicine and food too. They also need to make sure children have a secure ID on them, like dog tags. During World War II children were lost because they didnt know who they were. Have the little ones know their full names, where they live, the names of parents and relatives and each ones name and everywhere their relatives all live in case a parent dies. Drill them until they know who they are.

Q -- You mentioned civil unrest earlier? Is that a problem? What would you do if you had to move? Where would you go? A -- Hum. Thats a problem. I guess if people came to the house with guns wanting what I have, Id point them to the pile and say take it. Of course, Id have different stashes of food and supplies hidden. If I had to leave, Id hide in the hills. Theyd probably ruin the house before I came back. If I had to move because of the weather or a disaster like an earthquake, Id have to decide where to go at the time. Id need to think about what Id do in different situations. It would depend on the gas in my car and which roads were open. A fire would be a problem if theres no water to put it out.

Q -- If you had to leave on foot what would you do? A -- Have sturdy shoes, warm clothes and a backpack with camping supplies.

Q -- What else do you think is important? A -- To develop an attitude of self-sufficiency. Dont depend on others to do for you, but at the same time its important to prepare the community. People need to quietly prepare to have their lives disrupted for awhile.

Q -- What did this 60-Minutes program do for you? A -- It told me there was going to be a problem and Id better find out more. But other people may not pay attention until the middle of next year.

Q -- Should you tell your friends about the problem based on what you saw? A -- Not too much yet. Ill wait until later when its talked about more.

*Sigh* It is just a start.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), November 30, 1998.

Diane, I think it's a GREAT start! One thing I disagree with, though, is the diapers. Yes, you would have to dig a big hole to put them in if there was no trash collection. BUT, cloth diapers will require washing. Water may be our most precious commodity AND what will you do with the fecal matter washed out of the diapers? If it gets into rivers, lakes, etc., what about disease?

-- Gayla Dunbar (privacy@please.com), November 30, 1998.

Diane - I think your mom "get's it." Congratulate her - from me, okay?

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), November 30, 1998.

Actually, Diane -- that's an unqualified home run. Congratulations! I've spoken to maybe 50 people personally, at length. Only two have advanced their thinking to this degree. Only five are making ANY preparations at all and those are superficial at best. The other 45 are convinced I've lost my marbles. But I've warned them now and by doing so have fulfilled my moral obligation. But I can't prepare for them and I can't save them. They must do that themselves. If they choose not to, then they have actively chosen to accept the consequences if they are wrong. They cannot say that they weren't warned. That's what independence, freedom and personal responsibility are all about.

As for Paul Milne, don't take his style too seriously. His style and his message are needed by some. Some people literally don't listen until they get thwacked up side the head with a 2x4. He is abrasive, obnoxious, rude, vulgar, offensive, insolent and arrogant, and pretty darned good with the Y2K 2x4. He is needed at this time.

Y2K has brought us many strange 'de facto' leaders...Milne, North, Yardeni, Bennett, Horn, Dodd, Yourdon, Hamaski, De Jager, Infomagic. It is unfortunate that we don't have knights in shining white armor to serve us as leaders and rescue us from this mess, but if we did, we might never have ended up here in the first place.

So who ya gonna call? Koskinen? George Bush? Ronald Reagan? Bill Clinton, Mr. InformationSuperHighway? Nope. Each of these people had their chance and they all failed miserably (with respect to Y2K - other accomplishments notwithstanding). In spite of his glaring faults, Paul has done more to save lives than any of the 5 people mentioned above. I wish his attitude were a bit more congenial but hey, if it were, would he have the same effect? People dulled by years of shock-jock, hate-filled, me-me-me-me radio don't have much time for congeniality.

But the real people with no humanity are those leaders of business and government who understand all too well the seriousness of this issue but who choose to remain silent - for profit or power's sake. Paul can certainly not be accused of remaining silent.

And Paul is right about not trying to let people know that the theatre is on fire by 'easing' them into it. The longer we go before several somebodies with sufficient clout shout "Fire!", the worse the eventual disaster.

It did not have to be this way, it should not have been this way, but here we are... first we ran out of time for a technical fix, then we ran out of time for a managerial fix, now we are nearly out of time for personal preparedness fix.

Every day that passes without massive preparation brings us closer to the nightmare that Infomagic so eloquently describes. We do not have to accept the future Paul and Infomagic have shown us. But avoiding it will take a tremendous amount of effort. Effort that is not happening on anywhere near the scale it needs to.

We need attention spans longer than the average newsbite. Hell, most people think each 60 Minutes segment is an in-depth news analysis. And most tune it out anyway. We need to demand better - not from Paul Milne and Infomagic, but from ourselves and those around us. And especially from Mr. InformationSuperLearnTheHardWay.

G'night all, hope your preparations are on track. Mrs. Rimmer and I managed to get 330 gallons of emergency drinking water tucked away this weekend. I'll sleep every so slightly better tonight.


Preparation intimidates fear. Got water?

-- Arnie Rimmer (Arnie_Rimmer@usa.net), November 30, 1998.

'60 Minutes' was a good start.

We need more coverage. It's coming.

-- Dunno (anon@priv.org), November 30, 1998.

I thought it was ok for people just being made aware. It was less effective when the programer said he would be available as an expert witness.IT helped support the theory teotwawki people are just "money mongers".....not to mentioned it definately turned off my very talented musical husband!:>


-- deborah cunningham (dac@ccrtc.com), November 30, 1998.

The "60 Minutes" story was better than nothing. I think the folk song part is where they lost a lot of people.

CBS is doing another report on the news tonight. They've been advertising it all weekend.

-- Buddy (DC) (buddy@bellatlantic.net), November 30, 1998.

Earlier in this thread, Diane wrote:

"And to Paul Milne, on another thread, there arent words enough to describe your cavalier attitude towards the rest of the world. You, sir, have NO humanity in your soul. I consider you to be a big part of the problem at this timing. Definately NOT part of any solution except for your own selfish self! Your own words, in this post, just "stripped away" the thin veneer of human civilization you carry around you and also exposed the savagery beneath your surface, ticking away inside, like your own personal time bomb. Very sad. -- Diane"

Milne has personally made preparations for feeding and sheltering perhaps a dozen people for a year's time.

How many have you prepared for?

-- Max Dixon (Ogden, Utah USA) (Max.Dixon@gte.net), November 30, 1998.

60 minutes included statements and video relating to bank deposits disappearing, anyone using *electricity* will have a problem, government people addmitting shortcomings, tried to show the hopelessness of fixing all the code (The time and people involved in fixing 100k lines of code in one of 105 programs used by one bank.) and many other rather pointed and forthright indications of the true depth of the problem. If one didn't have the imagination or intelligence to see the implications and ramifications at that mid point, 60 minutes had to put them back to sleep again, for everyone elses benefit. They will try again later, I'm sure.

That may not be enough for some and perhaps it isn't in fact but however unfortunate it is to be so late in the game, the "alarmist" stance is not an option for the media. I've had more than the usual j.q.p. dealings with the media over the past 15 years. From what I know of them, that piece was very much "in our favor".

I don't know about the rest of you but I wish it was this time next year. I'd like to get this over with, one way or another, and get on with life. This preparation for the unknown is taking too much out of me. :-o uch.

But, on the other hand; my furnace quit Saturday. Did I worry? Na!

Still out though, so I guess I have to spend the $75 for the part to fix it. If it had only waited one more year.


-- Floyd Baker (fbaker@wzrd.com), November 30, 1998.

Max, Im not only working on Silicon Valley, but doing my homework and writing e-mails to try and mobilize the newsmedia nationwide. Also working on Oprah, et. al. I think very BIG and decidedly persistent.

Thats what Im doing. I want a lot more than 20 people prepared -- Im aiming for a whole nation, using the tools they know so well -- TV and newspapers. And its not just me doing it. Lots of people are. United, we CAN all make a difference. Care to join us?


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), November 30, 1998.

My husband thought the story was very good, until I asked him to watch it again, this time pretending he knew nothing about Y2K. At the second viewing he realized that it would be easy for people to remain relatively unconcerned. But at least 60 Minutes didn't try to say it was no big deal.

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (storestuff@home.now), November 30, 1998.

"It sucked" nuff said


-- Ron (mongo@earthling.net), November 30, 1998.

They should have shown some communities who are preparing, like Lowell. The only person they showed preparing was Scott Olmstead. I wonder why he is so eager to let camera crews see his place. Doesn't make sense.

-- Amy (leoneamy@aol.com), December 01, 1998.

It was, "A day late and a dollar short".

In the final analysis, it won't make any difference at all.

-- Hardliner (searcher@internet.com), December 01, 1998.

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