Inside Scoop

"A man with an idea is a crank until the new idea succeeds."
-Mark Twain

Welcome to the current edition of Inside Scoop. Each week, you'll get information about topics that CBS News broadcasts are covering and that is featuring. And, from our correspondents and producers, an inside peek at what it took to get the story.

60 Minutes II on Tuesday, September 27: In the first interview since the brutal dragging death of James Byrd Jr. last year in Jasper, Texas, Shawn Berry reveals to Dan Rather his version of what happened in a two-part interview. Berry, 24, is one of the three men charged in one of the worst hate crimes of the decade. Berry describes a grisly series of events that ended with chaining Byrd to Berry's truck and dragging him until he was decapitated. Berry faces trial next month in Jasper, Tex.; two other defendants, John William King, 24, and Russell Brewer, 32, have already been found guilty and sentenced to death.

Also on 60 Minutes II: who's the mastermind behind such popular musical groups such as the Backstreet Boys and N Synch? His name is Lou Pearlman. He's found the secret formula for creating teen heartthrobs that has millions of teenage American girls swooning and falling in love. Vicki Mabrey talks to Pearlman, who takes 60 Minutes II to his secret "Charm School" hidden away in Orlando, Florida. There, he reveals his formula for success and shows us four new groups who could be charming their way to the top of the music charts within the next few months.

On 48 Hours: Thursday, September 30: Torn By Hate. The ugliness of hate is as real today as at any time in our history. And it is never more clear than when tragedies take place such as the shooting at the Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles or the dragging death of James Byrd one year ago.

Underscoring those brutal and unspeakable hate crimes are the statistics that the number of racist and anti-government hate groups has risen sharply. Experts who monitor such groups claim that by using the Internet and rock music, these hate groups are targeting mainstream America.

This compelling hour will get inside the mind of the hate groups as it seeks to find answers and will talk to the victims and their families about possible solutions.

And, for the first time, the parents of the victims who were injured when 37-year-old white supremacist Buford Furrow opened fire at the North Valley Jewish Community Center will speak out.

Here's what Correspondent Susan Spencer had to say about this interview: "Given what they'd been through, I felt it was a real act of trust that officials at the Jewish Community Center and the victims' families gave 48 Hours their first television interviews and showed us at the scene hoevents unfolded. For me, it was a shock to see--from the inside--how small a space it really is, and realize how many more victims there could have been. But as they shared their feelings with us, it's clear the parents are not dwelling on any of that. You can see their resolve, and their focus is on healing."

On Sound Off! offers its audience a new way to weigh in, with a daily Pop Question. In the first week we offered the feature, users told us that Patton is their favorite George C. Scott movie; that business travel is getting more aggravating than ever; and that the most annoying current fad is the Beanie Baby, followed closely by the practice of naming babies after geographical locations. We hope you'll join us and have some fun. Just go to the home page and click on Pop Question.

On the CBS Evening News, Correspondent Bill Geist takes a look at the newest entry into the SUV market, the Ford Excursion. It's the granddaddy of all SUVs, bigger than the Chevy Suburban by five inches. Why do we need cars the size of trucks? What's next? A tractor trailer in every driveway?

Says Producer Jason Sacca: "Driving the biggest car on the road with a character like Bill Geist was quite an adventure. He would toss off comments as we roared down the road like 'people are scattering!' and 'I feel like the number 57 bus.. maybe we should stop and pick up passengers' and 'I wonder what's going on in the back seat?' We had quite a day, and a lot of fun. The car turned a few heads and everyone was impressed--not difficult considering the Excursion is 19 feet long and 7 feet high. We tried to think of the silliest thing in the world to try to fit in the trunk....and I think we found it!! Watch and see."

And from Saturday Morning: Ever wonder if those health foods that you're eating are really as healthy as their ads claim? Consumer Correspondent Herb Weisbaum reports on the growing popularity of fruit smoothies and sandwich wraps.

Plus, tune into Chef on a Shoestring, as Chef Cyril Renaud from La Caravelle in New York City makes tomato and basil feuillette, early fall squash and okra risotto, and, for dessert, roasted cinnamon apples.

Don't forget to print the chef's recipe at every week. There's a big archive of past recipes, too. You'll find it at on the Web, shortcut: chef. Or, on AOL, use keyword chefonashoestring.

By the way, if you haven't checked your attic for valuables consider tuning into Tony Hyman's collectibles segment on CBS News Saturday Morning and on because you just might get lucky. On a recent Saturday Morning, viewer Mary Ann Dolan of Ardmore, Pa., brought in a replica of the famous Hindenburg airship. Collectibles expert Tony Hyman said t was worth at least $1,500. He had consulted Art Bink, a blimp and dirigible memorabilia collector. In 50 years of collecting, Bink had never seen a replica like Dolan's.

Also on is a list of the email addresses of other experts who are happy to answer your questions about collectibles. At, just type in this shortcut: collectibles. On AOL, our keyword is CBS News; choose On Air from there to get to Saturday Morning's site.

From Sunday Morning: Is Anybody Out There? CBS News Correspondent Bill Whitaker explores the question of the existence of intelligent aliens in faraway galaxies with renowned astronomer Jack Welch. Plus, CBS News Correspondent Mark Phillips talks with best-selling author J.K. Rowling, whose Harry Potter series of books is taking the children's literature circuit by storm. And, in "Taxi Cab Quips And Confessions," Anchor Charles Osgood takes a drive with Manhattan photographer and cabbie David Bradford, whose soon-to-be-released collection of photos culminates 15 years of plying his trade and making his art on the streets of New York City.

60 Minutes: In his first interview about his controversial biography of Ronald Reagan, Edmund Morris -- who had unprecedented White House access -- tells Lesley Stahl fascinating insights about the 40th president and explains why he put himself into the book as a fictional character. Also: Affirmative action in college has always meant trying to put minority students onto predominantly white campuses. But what happens when an historically black college offers scholarships to white students only? Morley Safer finds out.