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April 8, 2012 8:07 AM   Subscribe

Mike Wallace, veteran journalist and one of the founding fathers of 60 Minutes, known for his tough interviews (such as those of William Westmoreland, Ayn Rand, Louis Farrakhan, and the Shah of Iran) died on Saturday. He was 93.
posted by mightygodking (117 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 

posted by bz at 8:11 AM on April 8, 2012


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He lived his full allotment, but I'm still sad. No one scared bad guys more than Mike Wallace showing up with his microphone.
posted by Mittenz at 8:12 AM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


The real journalists are slowly leaving us. Rest in Peace. At least your battle with depression is finally over.
posted by spicynuts at 8:14 AM on April 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


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posted by magstheaxe at 8:15 AM on April 8, 2012


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What a life to lead, making the powerful uncomfortable over so many decades
posted by Blasdelb at 8:16 AM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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A great newsman.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:16 AM on April 8, 2012


"Not only a great broadcaster but a great friend."

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posted by Fizz at 8:17 AM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by a debt owed at 8:18 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by Scoo at 8:18 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by LN at 8:21 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by vetala at 8:22 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by stoneweaver at 8:24 AM on April 8, 2012


Makes me want to observe sixty minutes of silence out of respect for him. We won't see his type again, I fear.

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posted by hippybear at 8:26 AM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]



posted by radwolf76 at 8:27 AM on April 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


Wallace was also bravely public about his long-time struggle with depression.
posted by mkultra at 8:29 AM on April 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by cashman at 8:30 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by Trurl at 8:30 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by flippant at 8:30 AM on April 8, 2012


I really appreciated his tenacity, his tough interviews. I wanted people to be nervous when they saw him coming.... He was our advocate, he wasn't content to sit there and regurgitate the interviewee's talking points like some kind of PR money-greased megaphone.

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posted by theatro at 8:34 AM on April 8, 2012


A bunch of episodes of The Mike Wallace Interview, a series from 1957-1960, are available here, including Salvador Dali, Aldous Huxley, Eleanor Roosevelt, Kirk Douglas and Margaret Sanger (on the blue previously).
posted by mediareport at 8:34 AM on April 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


The real journalists are slowly leaving us.

I'd love this image as a "look at these fucking journalists!" meme.
posted by cashman at 8:35 AM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by hal9k at 8:35 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by Brodiggitty at 8:37 AM on April 8, 2012


And man, if you've never seen The Homosexuals from 1967, it's a period piece worth seeing, for sure.
posted by mediareport at 8:37 AM on April 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


well, he didn't die working (which is probably what he'd have wanted), but he did alright.
posted by lodurr at 8:37 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by notmtwain at 8:38 AM on April 8, 2012


mediareport, as period pieces go it was about as even-handed as you could probably expect. given the time and the audience, probably as good as could have been aired. well worth watching, though I can imagine some gay people would still have a problem with it (and I wouldn't expect them not to).
posted by lodurr at 8:41 AM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


well, he didn't die working (which is probably what he'd have wanted), but he did alright.

You've clearly stepped over the line as anyone can see. Could you share with the owners of this care facility exactly why you chose to walk all over their lawn in the first place?
posted by hal9k at 8:41 AM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


St. Peter'll probably freak out a bit when Mike Wallace knocks on the door.
posted by jabberjaw at 8:41 AM on April 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


lodurr, it took courage to air at the time, for sure, no doubt.
posted by mediareport at 8:44 AM on April 8, 2012


Mike Wallace on Scientology

Malcolm X

First Lady Nancy Reagan

Frank Lloyd Wright

Salman Rushdie
posted by Blasdelb at 8:44 AM on April 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh, geez.

I used to watch 60 minutes every week with my parents when I was a kid, long before I understood half of what they were talking about. I've been meaning to go back and watch some of the big stories from its glory days -- I suppose this is as good a time as any to sit down and do so.

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posted by Narrative Priorities at 8:49 AM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


They do not make them like they used to. THANK YOU MISTER MIKE WALLACE!
posted by bukvich at 8:52 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 8:53 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by mule98J at 8:54 AM on April 8, 2012


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Shame about how his son, Chris, turned out, far from following in his footsteps…
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 9:00 AM on April 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


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posted by genehack at 9:02 AM on April 8, 2012


Mike Wallace, game show host

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posted by jonp72 at 9:03 AM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


One of the absolute greats. He understood that journalism is supposed to be an advocate for the truth, and that requires hard digging and forceful questioning. Too bad his pud of a son didn't learn from him.

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posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:04 AM on April 8, 2012


Salvador Dali 1958

With an extended cigarette commercial at the beginning hosted by Wallace.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:05 AM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by pemberkins at 9:10 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by Thorzdad at 9:11 AM on April 8, 2012


I remember how much Mike Wallace was part of my life growing up. Sunday nights we'd watch 60 Minutes to see which crook he'd expose, or how he'd get some celebrity to open up. He never pandered or talked down to his audience. He was honest about his own life-his son's death, his depression, his illnesses.

He gave us the truth, and thought we'd be able to do something with it.
posted by Not The Stig at 9:12 AM on April 8, 2012


-30-
posted by mosk at 9:18 AM on April 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Fluffo: "Oh, man! That's some apple pie!"
posted by pracowity at 9:20 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by punkfloyd at 9:22 AM on April 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by cmdnc0 at 9:31 AM on April 8, 2012


:-( .
posted by bjgeiger at 9:37 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by HumanComplex at 9:37 AM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by tommasz at 9:39 AM on April 8, 2012


From where I'm sitting I'd say Mr. Wallace made the most of his 93 years.

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posted by Sailormom at 9:39 AM on April 8, 2012


Always liked him. RIP.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:40 AM on April 8, 2012


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You hear that all you other journalists? You've got a lot of slack to pick up now!
posted by JHarris at 9:43 AM on April 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:45 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by box at 9:47 AM on April 8, 2012


The only way "journalism" as an aggregate concept will ever be saved is via the death of "journalism" as a designer career for social climbers, model/actresses and people who otherwise would have gotten a JD or MBA. Until then, we'll be stuck with the ESPN-ization of media.
posted by spicynuts at 9:48 AM on April 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by Ink-stained wretch at 9:50 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by TwelveTwo at 9:55 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by fuse theorem at 9:57 AM on April 8, 2012


He will be missed. A fine career.

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posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:57 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by jabo at 9:58 AM on April 8, 2012


Godspeed, sir, and many thanks.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:58 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by sonika at 9:59 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by antonymous at 10:00 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by JoeXIII007 at 10:05 AM on April 8, 2012


RIP, Mike.
posted by Lynsey at 10:06 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by saslett at 10:10 AM on April 8, 2012


A truly great newsman - they truly aren't making them like Wallace anymore and have not been for some time. More bummed about this than I expected to be, he was 93 after all. But I just can't shake the feeling that we still needed him, that there is no one yet ready to do what he did.

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posted by EatTheWeak at 10:15 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by Xoebe at 10:16 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by BibiRose at 10:25 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by asciident at 10:28 AM on April 8, 2012


"Mike Wallace wants my body."
posted by Eideteker at 10:53 AM on April 8, 2012


It is a miracle that he lived that long. If you watch any footage of his shows from the '50s, you can hardly see him through all the cigarette smoke.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:57 AM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I never knew of his depression. As someone struggles with the illness, it's inspiring to know that he was able to manage it for so long to live such a long, productive life.

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posted by Sreiny at 10:59 AM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by annsunny at 11:00 AM on April 8, 2012


Mike Wallace was not just a great reporter, he was part of the cultural landscape like Elvis or cheeseburgers. I remember Robert Klein doing a routine about how aliens always land in the backyards of drunken ruralites and saying "Why don't they land in Mike Wallace's backyard? He'd say 'Come back here, you little green bastards are frauds!!' "

RIP.
posted by jonmc at 11:16 AM on April 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Mike? Mike? Try Mr. Wallace."
posted by Rangeboy at 11:30 AM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by pianoblack at 11:38 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by IvoShandor at 11:41 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by immlass at 11:47 AM on April 8, 2012


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posted by luckynerd at 11:52 AM on April 8, 2012


Jesus? Hi, this is Peter at the front gate. Mike Wallace is here and says he has a few questions. He's got a camera and everything. Do I let him in?
posted by faceonmars at 12:00 PM on April 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Wallace believed that the role of journalism was to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
Big fat period.
posted by Renoroc at 12:16 PM on April 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


To the Ayatollah Khomenei:

"[Anwar Sadar says] you are... forgive me, his words... a lunatic."

I'll never forget when David Letterman threw that Fluffo commercial in his face and WOULD NOT LET UP on him over it. "Didja fly out to Indiana to interview the state baking champ? Is that Fluffo on your hands RIGHT NOW?"

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posted by evilcolonel at 12:34 PM on April 8, 2012


That should be "Sadat", of course.
posted by evilcolonel at 12:34 PM on April 8, 2012


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Most journalists today honestly believe that their job is to rewrite the press releases of corporations... I wish I believed in reincarnation and that we'd get another person who asks inconvenient questions born in nine months.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:35 PM on April 8, 2012


Wallace objected to his portrayal in The Insider, but I think it captured a rare sense of nobility that anyone could be proud of.
posted by Brian B. at 12:55 PM on April 8, 2012


"60 Minutes" is the most important American television news program, and Mike Wallace was one of my longtime personal heroes. RIP.
posted by dbiedny at 1:07 PM on April 8, 2012


By the way, Wallace was also responsible for the 1959 news special, The Hate That Hate Produced, probably the first time most white TV viewers ever learned about Malcolm X, the Black Muslims, and black nationalism in general.
posted by jonp72 at 1:26 PM on April 8, 2012


He was our advocate, he wasn't content to sit there and regurgitate the interviewee's talking points like some kind of PR money-greased megaphone.

I agree with what you say, and we've lost another great, but is it wrong of me to be disappointed that my initial reading of your comment -- "PR monkey-greased megaphone" -- was wrong?
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:43 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Shame about how his son, Chris, turned out, far from following in his footsteps…

Sometimes the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Sometimes it's not even in the same orchard.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:34 PM on April 8, 2012


Apparently Chris didn't have a relationship with his father until he was about 14. So.
posted by sweetkid at 3:08 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


In what was most likely his first national broadcast, here's Myron "Mike" Wallace as a guest on radio's Information Please, February 7, 1939. He was just a 21-year-old college kid, but there's no mistaking that voice.
posted by in278s at 3:09 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by a humble nudibranch at 3:23 PM on April 8, 2012


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posted by Snyder at 3:32 PM on April 8, 2012


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posted by hot_monster at 3:40 PM on April 8, 2012


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posted by Ber at 3:49 PM on April 8, 2012


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posted by Mental Wimp at 4:22 PM on April 8, 2012


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posted by ghani at 4:24 PM on April 8, 2012


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posted by boubelium at 4:30 PM on April 8, 2012


Most journalists today honestly believe that their job is to rewrite the press releases of corporations...

Because people get the media they deserve. Mr. Wallace was fortunate enough that his era gave him the freedom to ask the hard questions that needed to be asked to find the truth and bless him for understanding what a journalist's mandate truly was...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 4:38 PM on April 8, 2012


GenjiandProust, if that disappointment is wrong, I don't want to be right.
posted by theatro at 4:42 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because people get the media they deserve. Mr. Wallace was fortunate enough that his era gave him the freedom to ask the hard questions that needed to be asked to find the truth and bless him for understanding what a journalist's mandate truly was...

Fuck that noise. People get whatever media's shoveled at them.

EVERYONE DESERVES GOOD JOURNALISM.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:46 PM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


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posted by Meatafoecure at 5:00 PM on April 8, 2012


We flew to Hong Kong on a hunch.

The SNL 60 Minutes Parody.
posted by vitabellosi at 5:59 PM on April 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by quazichimp at 6:01 PM on April 8, 2012


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posted by ZeusHumms at 6:52 PM on April 8, 2012


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They don't make em like him anymore.
posted by Windopaene at 7:00 PM on April 8, 2012


I should like to to declare today the end of an era in its truest sense. A century of new media rises... come what may.
posted by Algebra at 7:24 PM on April 8, 2012


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posted by ladygypsy at 7:25 PM on April 8, 2012


RIP, Mr. Wallace.
posted by notashroom at 7:39 PM on April 8, 2012


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posted by symbioid at 8:33 PM on April 8, 2012


Wallace objected to his portrayal in The Insider, but I think it captured a rare sense of nobility that anyone could be proud of.

Wallace had an interesting career, and The Insider is great storytelling, but Wallace's capitulation to CBS corporate is a significant and fascinating black mark on his life's work, at least if Lowell Bergman's version is to be believed:

Was there a moment when you felt a first sense of betrayal, if that's the word for it?

I wouldn't call it betrayal. I would say that it was astonishment on my part. After the September 12th meeting, I thought I had an understanding with Mike Wallace in that meeting that I would be sort of the fact person and he would get up, if you will, and jump up on the table--which he's good at. He's been doing it a lot in the press recently. And he didn't do it. He raised a question about the merger and that was it. And then she [Kaden] denied it and then we went on. And Hewitt didn't jump on the table. . . Here's some guys who are--and Cronkite says this in "Smoke in the Eye"--here's some guys who are in their seventies, have had the most successful careers in the television news business in the history of the United States, they're multi- multi-millionaires. They like to get on TV and say they'll do any story that comes along they think is true. They think the story is true, they think the story is worthwhile, and they're just not doing anything. They're sort of saying, "Oh, we'll wait for the next opinion." Well, it was clear the next opinion was going to be, "Forget it."


If the hagiography is anything to go by, Wallace had nothing much to lose by telling corporate to get stuffed and running the story. The respect for him from other journalists and — more importantly — trust from the public, was all hard currency.

And that coin was never spent.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:16 PM on April 8, 2012


My dad was a newshound... as I remember watching "60 Minutes" as a child... not really getting it... but both I and my brother grew into men who did come to have a better understanding of that world...

Mike Wallace was part of that understanding...

We are all the poorer for his passing...

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posted by PROD_TPSL at 10:40 PM on April 8, 2012


Sad he died. The world needed him. I'm glad he was born.
posted by nickyskye at 9:17 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by Nickel Pickle at 10:37 AM on April 9, 2012


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If anyone ever has the opportunity to see the Fred Friendly seminar titled "Under Orders, Under Fire," do yourself the favor of watching it.
posted by Amanojaku at 4:40 PM on April 10, 2012


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