It was hard to believe Ruth Madoff on 60 Minutes, on a couple of levels. The first was why 60 Minutes had her on its show. Even as a craven ratings ploy, it was pretty embarrassing for the news magazine to devote time to the wife of convicted financial advisor Bernie Madoff. Morley Safer’s kid-gloves scoffing at Ruth’s gullability was supposed to pass as journalistic interrogation, but what did the segment really provide, other than an opportunity for Ruth to natter on about her ignorance of her husband’s massive Ponzi scheming?
The second level of disbelief lay in Ruth’s view of the universe. She actually believed that viewers were going to feel some sympathy for her over the 2010 suicide of her son Mark — that, as she put it, there is no greater pain than the death of one’s child? I had to rewind that part: Ruth Madoff never expressed sympathy for Mark, or for his family, but rather chose to emphasize her own pain?
Regarding the hyped-in-advance tale that Ruth and Bernie attempted suicide: I didn’t believe that, either. As Mary McCarthy once famously said of Lillian Hellman, “Every word she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.'” 60 Minutes gave Ruth Madoff a big plug for her new book, which I won’t plug by writing its title.
What’d you think of the Ruth Madoff/60 Minutes story?