• Manson Lashes Out in Interview

Manson Lashes Out in Interview

NEW YORK, Jun. 12 — Charles Manson, the convicted mass murderer, strikes out at the media and claims he is “nobody’s leader and I’m nobody’s follower” in an interview with Tom Snyder tonight on NBC’s “Tomorrow Coast to Coast” (12:30 a.m., Channels 4, 39).

On Thursday, Snyder spoke informally of his interview with two dozen journalists invited to preview the taped program in a screening room at NBC’s Rockefeller Center headquarters. And the predominant question posed to the controversial talk show host was, why interview Manson in the first place?

“All of us, whether in print or on camera, are 99% of the time mirroring sane, rational people,” Snyder explained. “Then a bomb goes off — a John Lennon murder — and we’re shocked and ask ‘How could that happen?’ Well, we’d better look at this (irrational) part of society to see how it happens and how we might deal with it.”

The two-hour interview, which has been edited down to 50 minutes, was conducted last Saturday at the California Medical Facility at Vacaville, where Manson currently is serving life sentences for the 1969 murders in Los Angeles of nine people, including Sharon Tate.

Roger Ailes, executive producer of Snyder’s program, explained Thursday that the interview emerged out of routine “idea meetings” and that contact with Manson was made through free-lance journalist Nuel Emmons, who currently is working on a book about the 47-year-old convict.

Ailes said Emmons, a former convict who spent time in jail with Manson during the 1950s, was paid $10,000 for his services and also will be interviewed briefly on tonight’s broadcast.

According to Ailes, Manson received no payment, but was promised that the “essential interview” would be run in sequence.

The atmosphere surrounding the interview, which took place in a small utilitarian parole board room with a five-member production team present, was described as tense. “Manson was spooked by Tom’s height,” Ailes said, accounting for the fact that Manson sits perched on a stool looking down at Snyder seated in a chair throughout most of the interview. “There was much haggling,” Ailes said.

Manson seems ill at ease during the interview, and frequently plays with the long cord attached to his microphone. Despite Snyder’s tough, prosecutor-like tone, Manson clearly does not “come clean,” which is what Snyder said he intended from the interview.

“I came away very depressed. At first I thought we didn’t have anything, it was so disjointed, so off the wall,” acknowledged Snyder, adding that he now believes he did “the best I could.”

“But I think this disspells the image of Manson as mystique, as somebody able to be hypnotic, to bend people’s minds.”

Manson says as much in the interview: “I’m nobody’s leader and I’m nobody’s follower. All this cult business, all that hocus-pocus stuff that you guys are playing, I don’t know nothing about all that.”

Manson continually refers to the media attention that has surrounded him.

“You dealt the hand down there in L.A.,” he says, referring to Snyder’s TV beat during the ’60s. “You and that L.A. Times, you dealt the hand. They had me convicted before I walked in the courtroom.”

Much of the time Manson makes no sense; often his thoughts wander aimlessly. But at times he seems all too rational. When asked about the suffering he is accused of having caused, Manson says sarcastically, “I don’t know pain, I have no depths of pain. I have no depths of suffering. I don’t know ridicule. I don’t know all the bad things … I’ve been in every reform school you got across the country and used to lay down and have to get whipped till I couldn’t walk. Tell me about some pain.”

Snyder repeatedly was asked by reporters at Thursday’s briefing whether airing the interview served society or whether it might trigger more insanity?

“I don’t think this will trigger anything but dismay at what you see,” Snyder said. Then, pointedly referring to the fact that Manson has been eligible for parole since 1978, he asked “What do we do with a Charles Manson? You know, his case is due for review again this year!”


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2 Responses to Manson Lashes Out in Interview

  1. starviego says:

    I don’t see anything in the transcript that could be described as ‘lashing out.’

  2. Matt says:

    I was thinking the same thing

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