Scott Pelley (born July 28,
1957) is an American television
journalist, currently working as a
correspondent for the CBS News magazine
Prior to his
position, Pelley was a correspondent for the
60 Minutes II
program and served as
CBS News' chief White House correspondent.
Antonio, Texas, Pelley grew
up in Lubbock, where he
graduated from Coronado High School
and obtained his first job in journalism at the age of fifteen as a
copyboy for the Lubbock
Avalanche-Journal. Staying close to home, he attended the
journalism school at Texas Tech
University, in Lubbock.
He is married and has two
began his career as a broadcast journalist at Lubbock's KSEL-TV in
1975. He moved on to KXAS (NBC) in
Worth in 1978, then jumped to WFAA (ABC) (also
in Dallas/Fort Worth) in 1982, remaining there for seven
In 1985, Pelley's reporting on Guatemalan refugees
living in remote jungles of Mexico caught the attention of
executives at CBS News, but it would be another four years before
Pelley would move to the CBS network.
Pelley's CBS career started in New York City in 1989. Later, he
returned to Dallas to cover national affairs from the CBS bureau.
Pelley covered the 1990/91 Gulf war, reporting from Baghdad and
traveling with the XVIII Airborne Corps in its assault on Iraq and
was assigned to cover the 1992 presidential campaigns of Ross Perot and Bill
Clinton, and also reported on such major events as the 1993 World
Trade Center bombing, the Branch
Davidian siege near
Texas, and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Pelley served as CBS News' Chief White House Correspondent from
1997 to 1999. During that time, President Clinton was impeached by
the United States House of Representatives. In covering the
investigation of the president, Pelley broke the news that Monica
Lewinsky had become a cooperating witness in the investigation
conducted by the Office of Independent Counsel. Pelley was also
first to report that President Clinton had been subpoenaed to
testify before the grand jury. Later, in 2001, Pelley got the first
interview with former president Clinton in the aftermath of the
September 11th attacks.
In 1999, Pelley left the White House to join 60 Minutes II
shortly after its
inception. In 2000, Pelley landed the first interview with the new
president-elect, George Bush. The next year, on the morning of
September 11, Pelley reported from the scene of the collapsing
World Trade Center towers. Beginning in 2003, Pelley began filing
reports for 60 Minutes on Sunday. He moved to the Sunday edition of
the broadcast after the cancellation of 60 Minutes II
In recent years Pelley's work has featured reporting from Iraq and
Afghanistan and reporting on climate change from Antarctica and the
Arctic. In a 2007 article in USA Today,
columnist Peter Johnson, "I am looking for epic stories of human
struggle, big issues that I can get my arms around — especially in
places that are difficult to get to and which most people don't
Starting with the Persian Gulf
of 1990 and the 1991 invasion of
, Pelley has reported extensively from many war zones,
including the former Yugoslavia
2003, Pelley and a 60 Minutes
team opted out of the
Pentagon's embed system and covered the invasion of Iraq
independently from the
initial strike to the fall of Baghdad. He has returned to Iraq
frequently to report on the insurgency and the continuing
occupation. In 2006 and 2007 he filed reports on the
genocide in the Darfur region of
In his 2007 report, Pelley enlisted the
help of a rebel group to organize an armed reconnaissance into
Darfur. The story portrayed a village that had been destroyed by
government forces. The Darfur report was honored with an Emmy
Award. In a review of the story, the Washington Times
wrote, "The legacy of [Edward R.] Murrow lives at CBS in the
daring, long-range investigations of Scott Pelley."
Pelley's style, especially in interviews with political figures,
has not been without critics. A 2007 interview with Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was seen by
some as combative.
At one point, according to the 60 Minutes
transcript, Ahmadinejad interrupted Pelley saying, "Are you a CIA
agent? Is this Abu Ghraib? No, this is Iran and I am president of
this country!" In 1998, Pelley was picked up off his feet and
physically thrown out of the Kremlin after shouting a question to
at the end of a
meeting with President Boris Yeltsin
The reviews of Pelley's 60 Minutes
work have been
generally positive. David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun
wrote in 2007, "If
there is a single face of the broadcast, it is now that of Pelley
who has done several of the biggest interviews and stories."
, founder of
, noted that "Pelley
threw hardballs" in his 2007 interview with President Bush
, writing in The
in 2007, said, "Scott Pelley nailed the
crucial question" in his interview with former CIA Director,
. William F. Buckley, Jr.
, in the National Review
, said "Pelley did fine
work" in the Tenet piece. However, Alessandra Stanley
of The New York Times
wanting, writing, "the strongest on-air personality of the moment
belongs to one of the program's blander faces, Scott Pelley."
In 2009, Pelley won his second George Foster Peabody Award
a report on the medical relief organization Remote Area Medical.
RAM was created to
airdrop doctors and supplies into the developing world, but today
it does most of its work setting up free medical clinics for the
uninsured in the United States.
Also in 2009, Pelley won the George
and an Investigative
Reporters and Editors Award
for an investigation of American
recycling companies that secretly ship hazardous waste to China.
The report exposed an illegal trade that ruins the health of
villagers who dismantle discarded computers under medieval
Pelley's reporting on the deaths of civilians during a Marine
engagement in Haditha, Iraq, won the 2007 George Foster Peabody Award
citation for the award said in part, "This thorough, open-minded
investigation of the worst single killing of civilians by American
troops since Vietnam put not just the incident into better
perspective but the entire Iraq War and the terrible choices it
presents both soldier and civilian".
Pelley has won ten national Emmy Awards
from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
reporting on child slavery in India earned him
the Investigative Reporters and Editors award in 1999.
addition, he has won three Edward
Awards, bestowed by
the Radio and Television News Director's Association and the
Writers Guild of America
was inducted into the Texas Tech University alumni Hall of Fame and serves on the board of the
university's School of
Pelley also serves on the board of
the International Rescue
, the refugee relief agency headquartered in New York