DENVER (CBS4)– Scott Pelley tells stories. His book is full of them.
“I wanted to write a memoir, but I didn’t want to write a memoir about me,” he said.
Pelley’s book, “Truth Worth Telling: A Reporter’s Search for Meaning in the Stories of Our Times,” is a series of stories about people and about reporting. About everyday people who have inspired him and about politics that have not.
“The first chapter in the book is called ‘Gallantry.’ And it’s about the members of the fire department in The City of New York. I was at the World Trade Center when the buildings came down and I watched those firefighters go up into those towers, knowing what the risk was, just against the chance that they might be able to save someone… I wanted to pay tribute to them.“
Pelley’s stories of fearless firefighters unfold from the pages along with those of brave soldiers like Marine David Hall and the family grieving his death in Afghanistan years later.
“David was killed while 60 Minutes was on his base in Afghanistan and I was never able to get him out of my mind,” Pelley told CBS4’s Alan Gionet. “He was a big tall, handsome man. And one of the things they told me was that when he was in middle school he’d been bullied so much that they had to move him to a different school. And that told me a lot, because here’s David Hall, as a grown man protecting, right, all of the other Marines, going out at the head of the patrol, protecting everyone else and it informed me so much about this great young man and what he meant, his life meant.”
Pelley was moved by a visit to Hall’s family in blue-collar Lorain, Ohio years later.
“I was surprised to see another young man with them, an African American man named Fenelus. It turned out that he was a member of Hall’s platoon and Hall had told his parents, ‘If anything ever happens to me, take care of Fenelus,’ and that’s exactly what they were doing. He was living with them almost like their son in the house while he went to college nearby. And that kind of gallantry I think is one of the things that I want to make the most of in this book to tell the stories of heroes. I think we could use a hero right about now.”
Pelley will speak Tuesday 7 p.m. at the Fort Collins Hilton, sponsored by Old Firehouse books and the CSU Friends of Morgan Library and the Poudre River Public Library District. You can expect a discussion about journalism.
“What’s the fastest way to destroy a democracy?” Pelley asked. “Is it terrorism, war, Great Depression? I don’t think so. I think the fastest way to destroy a democracy is to poison the information. And we have just gone seamlessly from the information age to the disinformation age.”
He describes his work on the CBS signature 60 Minutes program as the best job in the world. One that exposes him to the best of stories and people.