April 8, 2012

Goodbye to Mike Wallace.

The monumental broadcaster was 93.

ADDED: Here's a nicely detailed obit. Excerpt:
Mr. Wallace was a master of the skeptical follow-up question, coaxing his prey with a "forgive me, but…" or a simple, "come on."...

His late colleague Harry Reasoner once said, "There is one thing that Mike can do better than anybody else: With an angelic smile, he can ask a question that would get anyone else smashed in the face."

Mr. Wallace said he didn't think he had an unfair advantage over his interview subjects: "The person I'm interviewing has not been subpoenaed. He's in charge of himself, and he lives with his subject matter every day. All I'm armed with is research."

52 comments:

David said...

Condolences to his son Chris.

edutcher said...

Not a whole lot good to say about Mike Malice, as he was known.

This was the guy lecturing a Columbia(?) J-school class and, asked if the correspondent embedded with the VC saw them setting up an ambush for US troops should do anything to stop it yelled back, "No, you're a journalist. You shouldn't do anything".

And that's probably the best thing you can say about him.

My sympathies to his son, Chris, however, who seems to be a good guy.

Pogo said...

Truman Capote may have invented 'fake but accurate' with In Cold Blood, but Wallace made it respectable.

I'll remember him for that contribution..

Hagar said...

"Monumental"?

Hagar said...

"Marvellous" perhaps, but "monumental"?

ricpic said...

Mike Wallace denounced anyone who dared express doubts about liberalism a McCarthyite in the days when the liberal orthodoxy went unchallenged. Those days are over only because of the courage of first Buckley and then Limbaugh. His son Chris has to occasionally fake a bit of respect for those with the "wrong" views. When Bob Schieffer leaves us, the old guard, those, like Wallace, who were not only supremely smug but comfortably smug as well will be no more. Good riddance.

Anthony said...

I must agree with the sentiments so far; I quit watching 60 Minutes in the 1980s after one stupid PC story after another, and that was even before the Alar debacle. Advocacy journalism masquerading as serious journalism.

Roger J. said...

RIP Mr Wallace, and condolences to his family. As to Mr Wallace merits, I will leave that to a higher authority.

MadisonMan said...

He was excellent at what he did. I enjoyed watching 60 Minutes back in the 70s.

madAsHell said...

I wanna know who his make-up artist is!!....err....was!!

My uncle is 96, and he looks the part. Wallace never looked 93. Of course, today my uncle looks a whole bunch healthier than Wallace.

RIP Mr. Wallace.

Hagar said...

"Advocacy journalism" is a contradiction in terms.

Luke Lea said...

Here's one of my Mike Wallace segments on a very timely topic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeixtYS-P3s

edutcher said...

MadisonMan said...

He was excellent at what he did. I enjoyed watching 60 Minutes back in the 70s.

If you mean you admire his skills as a liar.

"The Uncounted Enemy" was one of the most bald-faced lies ever put on television.

rhhardin said...

All I'm armed with is research.

Ratings research.

Irene said...

Wallace met quite a match when he interviewed Frank Lloyd Wright . Wright felt slighted when Wallace called him "the greatest American architect of all time."

Daniel Fielding said...

Wont say anything about his work in journalism. But, RIP, Mr Wallace, fellow Wolverine.
Go Blue!!!!!

gadfly said...

The songwriter Paul Simon tells about his song Mrs. Robinson – you remember, the theme song for the movie The Graduate. There’s a line in the song that goes like this: “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you. What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson? Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away.”

In case you're too young to remember, Joe DiMaggio was one of baseball's biggest stars back in the 1940s and ’50s. He played center field for the Yankees, and his 56-game hitting streak in 1941 still stands as a record. Then, of course, after he retired he married Marilyn Monroe. A legend in his own time.

Paul Simon was interviewed on 60 Minutes, and when he talked about Mrs. Robinson, he said that after the song was released, he got a letter from Joe DiMaggio. The Yankee Clipper wrote, “What do you mean, ‘Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?’ I haven’t gone anywhere! I’m still around – I’m selling Mr. Coffee machines.” Paul Simon gave a wry smile to Mike Wallace as he remembered this. “Obviously,” he said, “Mr. DiMaggio is not accustomed to thinking of himself as a metaphor.”


Now we have another metaphor. Someone, somewhere loved Mike Wallace.

rick said...

My first exposure to the 60 Minutes fraud was the Illinois Power segment the CBS show did in the early 80's. Illinois Power followed these clowns from CBS with their own cameras and rebutted their every claim. It also revealed how 60 Minutes did selective editing.

Hello, George Zimmmerman.

Robert Cook said...

"Advocacy journalism masquerading as serious journalism."

What makes you think advocacy journalism cannot be serious journalism?

In fact, all serious journalism probably is, at some level, advocacy journalism.

William said...

There's sometimes a huge variance between actors and the roles they play, and sometimes they are who claim to be. Gary Cooper was by birth and upbringing a real cowboy. John Wayne was an actor who played a cowboy. John Wayne's impersonation has proved more durable than Gary Cooper's authenticity......Mike Wallace was an actor who played a tough, investigative reporter. He had a long successful career, and posterity will probably remember him as who he pretended to be.

MadisonMan said...

If you mean you admire his skills as a liar.

He made quite a nice living doing what he did. Can you name a TV News-type Journalist with a bigger impact?

You're acting like you are Alpha Liberal or and it's Rush Limbaugh who died -- and you are not alone in this thread in your behavior.

Alex said...

Mike Wallace was a leftist, a member of the MSM who slimed conservatives on a regular basis. Good fucking riddance.

Alex said...

Cook...

In fact, all serious journalism probably is, at some level, advocacy journalism.

Oh that's rich. I've been told all my life that MSM are unbiased, real journalism while Fox News is an advocacy group. Now you say the MSM is an advocacy group, but that's fine.

Freder Frederson said...

Gee, this reminds me of the Dick Cheney heart transplant thread. Except in that thread Ann obviously hoped that the lefties would come in and say nasty things about Cheney. But there weren't any nasty comments, which left the regular hacks here fuming, without any evidence, how much disrespect liberals were showing Cheney.

But here we just have torrents of hate against a journalist.

Ann must be so proud of her commenters.

Kirby Olson said...

I was once in an elevator with Mike Wallace. We went down from the Federal Building in lower Manhattan's elevator when Mike Wallace got on. We went up to the fourth floor, and he beamed at my family and I (I have little kids) about seven years ago. He wasfull of vigor then, and stood ramrod straight. He got off on the emergency passport renewal floor, so he must have been getting his passport redone. The weird thing is he was doing it himself, and had no handler doing it for him.

Bender said...

if the correspondent embedded with the VC saw them setting up an ambush for US troops should do anything to stop it yelled back, "No, you're a journalist. You shouldn't do anything".

Shouldn't the journalist do his job and issue a report right away? Shouldn't the correspondent get on the radio and/or TV immediately with "Breaking news: Live Report: One hundred Viet Cong are setting up an ambush right now in this position. They are armed with assorted rifles and grenades, as well as three Soviet-made rocket launchers. Oh, there is their commander now. Excuse me, commander? Where and when do you expect the Americans to come? Are you ready for them? Thank you so much. And now, back to you, Walter."

If it were the other way around, you can be sure that they would publicly report (AND THEY DID) what the U.S. plans were and what their position, numbers, and weapons were.

Bender said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bender said...

Wallace did an excellent job, and has become quite influential, being the father of gotcha journalism. Or at least one of its founding members.

But if you are going to go (and we all will), this is a good day for it.

Roger J. said...

"torrents of hatred...?" Freder: you have caught the vapors; take thee to thy fainting couch before you fall and hurt yourself.

Michael K said...

A friend of mine was interviewed by Wallace for 60 Minutes and he insisted on having his own cameraman filming the whole thing. He didn't trust Wallace an inch. I know of another serious case of misrepresentation that may have seriously harmed a young black surgeon's career. He was probably saved by doctors' visceral dislike of the program.

The first case was Sullivan vs Sullivan in which a wife worked while her husband finished his medical training with the agreement that he would then support her through law school. Instead, she sued him for half his lifetime earning as a doctor. She lost.

The second involved the famous clinic in Rochester. The story was supposed to follow the chief resident, who was black and a star, through his last year and be about surgical training. Instead, the whole show was edited to be about "ghost surgery" with the resident doing the case while the professor is supposed, by the patient, to have done it.

Everyone knows that you sign a consent for residents to do all or part of the surgery in a teaching hospital. In Germany they don't bother to tell you. Anyway, they had some disgruntled patient who swore he was deceived. The fact that he was a surgical supply salesman suggests a personal vendetta agains the chief.

I can't remember the clinic or chief's name. Wallace had full cooperation from them and they had no idea it was a hit job.

Michael K said...

One other funny thing about the Sullivan vs Sullivan case is that it became a sort of early feminist cause although I don't know why trying get half your ex-husband's income should be feminist.

Anyway, at the AMA convention that year, there was a woman student and resident group that was ardently in favor of the case. I was chair of the California delegation that year and I got up and asked them if they were sure they wanted this precedent. If they were to marry a man of lesser income potential (and many do), in the case of a divorce, he would own half their lifetime income.

They subsided into muttering. It had never occurred to them that it might apply just as well to the woman.

damikesc said...

He was a good journalist whose spirit is alive with James O'Keefe.

We just see what would happen if Wallace gored the wrong sacred cows with his treatment.

Roger J. said...

Wallace was an interesting guy--I am not aware of his politics as I dont think they interfered with his interviews--I suspect he adopted the journalist's "mission" to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. At any rate, RIP Mr Wallace.

SukieTawdry said...

Mike Wallace was hardly my cup of tea, but condolences to all who mourn his passing. RIP

edutcher said...

FWIW and kind of OT:

The Establishment newsies are still pushing this nonsense about armed Nazis patrolling Sanford FL.

Both Professor Jacobosn and Newsbusters have shot it down, but, if we're talking about Mike Malice's legacy, that's part of it.

Robert Cook said...

"Oh that's rich. I've been told all my life that MSM are unbiased, real journalism while Fox News is an advocacy group. Now you say the MSM is an advocacy group, but that's fine."

Very little journalism is unbiased. The problem is less that a particular news organ may be biased to a point of view than that they convince their audience (and themselves) that they provide objective reporting.

If the MSM is an "advocacy group," it's for their corporate profits first, and for the establishment point of view, second. Most journalists and editors in the MSM accept without question the conventional ideas and beliefs that prevail in their given society and do not recognize their own bias toward the "conventional wisdom."

I also wouldn't claim that the MSM presents "serious journalism"--investigative or otherwise--for the most part, but purveys mostly sensationalism and trivia, its purpose only to divert the public's attention for the minimal time each day the public consumes "the news."

But you miss my point: when the expense and effort is put forth to conduct a truly serious investigation into a particular topic of great moment, and to present the results of the investigation before the public, one has to assume those doing the reporting consider their work important, that they hope the revelations they provide will arouse the public to action in reaction to the particular ill the reporting has uncovered, or, at the least, to provide the public with information they should have.

You seem to assume "advocacy journalism" means--or requires--the presentation of untruths or distortions, and the suppression of inconvenient facts, when, in fact, truly serious advocacy journalism should provide the public with all the facts, so necessary given how little we typically learn of that which is assiduously kept hidden from us by those whose interests are served in keeping the facts, and the public, befogged.

Hagar said...

A journalist may report with a bias, but must report on the facts as he/she finds them. When he/she goes to omit or embellish the facts, that is "agitprop" and no kind of journalism.

Which is what the "Journolist" MSM very consistently do these days.

Alex said...

Hagar - as evidence by the Miami NBC producer who put that horrible tape out.

bgates said...

there weren't any nasty comments, which left the regular hacks here fuming, without any evidence, how much disrespect liberals were showing Cheney

There weren't any nasty comments in that thread, which hardly means there was no evidence that leftists were showing disrespect to Cheney. See Althouse's post about the transplant, or, some handy quotes from leftist hack Jon Stewart:

STEWART: Dick Cheney got a new heart! (Laughs) That's the headline. Oh, the headline is Dick Cheney got a new heart. You know, I'm sure by the way that is a very different headline in the organ community. Probably something like innocent heart sentenced to life in Cheney.
...
STEWART: (Laughs) Heart transplant! Isn’t more of a heart plant when you don’thave an original? Hey, I think we have a clip of Cheney selecting the
organ!

[CLIP of someone removing a heart by hand]

STEWART: He’s-He’s-DickCheney’s not a nice man.
...
STEWART: Hey, everybody, here's my impression of Dick Cheney's surgeon removing Cheney's original heart. Ah It bit me! Oh my god! Why does a human heart have fangs?

sydney said...

I will always remember Mike Wallace first and foremost as the narrator of the history movies my high school World History teacher used to show us.

edutcher said...

I think you mean the old syndicated "Biography" series made in the 50s.

sydney said...

Yes, that was it! I always think of them as history movies because that was the class we watched them in. (And that was in the 1970's. They were already 30 years old.)

Paul said...

Mike Wallace will be remembered as the father of 'Fake But Accurate' reporting.

Yes he did many good deeds but he did become involved it hatchet jobs.

And that is a fact that is accurate.

Gary Rosen said...

"If the MSM is an "advocacy group," it's for their corporate profits first"

So what corporation profited from NBC's edit of the Zimmerman tape?

rahul khan said...

Fantastic job!I and my friends must agree with the sentiments.Thanks so much.sell my house

rhhardin said...

Wallace was the announcer on The Green Hornet, I just learned from slow news day, audience-seeking radio news.

I'm getting the Tim Tebow and the Trayvon Martin stories mixed up.

rhhardin said...

Wallace was cited in 2004 for punching out a taxi and limousine commission inspector who was interfering with Wallace's take out order of meatloaf.

The Drill SGT said...

Roger J. said...
Wallace was an interesting guy--I am not aware of his politics as I dont think they interfered with his interviews


Bender beat me to the reference, but dodn't provide the clip. This is a PBS roundtable post-vietnam regarding journalism in combat. It starts by assuming there is a war between North and South Kosan, we're supporting the south, having been invaded by the North and American journalist are embedded with the aggressor North. (aka the NVA)

Journalist First, American Second

Fitting for his tombstone...

Rusty said...

Freder Frederson said...
Gee, this reminds me of the Dick Cheney heart transplant thread. Except in that thread Ann obviously hoped that the lefties would come in and say nasty things about Cheney. But there weren't any nasty comments, which left the regular hacks here fuming, without any evidence, how much disrespect liberals were showing Cheney.

But here we just have torrents of hate against a journalist.


Jesus, You're a putz.

The guy is dead. Nothing anybody says now is going to make a damn bit of difference one way or another. He had a great run. He lived a good comfortable life. I didn't agree with a lot of what he represented, but, hell I hope he had a good time. He belongs to history now.
God speed Mr. Wallace.
Now can we get back to talking about something interesting?

Bryan C said...

RIP. Wallace was skilled in the art of the hostile interview and a strong advocate for his chosen social and political causes. That's what most journalists now strive to be, so by that standard he was a good journalist.

He was a terrible reporter, though.

Religious in America said...

Mike Wallace was a 'hitman' for the liberal complex. He was despicable in his use of leading questions: as in 'When did you stop beating your wife?'

gloogle said...

Mike Wallace? Pfffftttt.

An obnoxious little man with no sense of country.