This coming Sunday, CBS’s Sixty Minutes, the longest news “magazine” in television history (since 1968), will pay tribute to its longest lasting correspondent, and a true journalistic icon, Mike Wallace.
Wallace died last weekend at the age of 93, after having served with CBS News for more than half a century, and being one of the originators of Sixty Minutes, which set a standard for journalism that has not been matched anywhere for hard hitting, investigative, and controversial news coverage.
Mike Wallace was famous, or infamous depending on who was giving an opinion, for aggressive, challenging and persistent questioning of famous, and not so famous, people, including Anwar Sadat of Egypt, Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, and every American President since Gerald Ford.
Wallace was not shy or reserved in any form, and that was what was most admirable about him. He made a lot of enemies, and wore their hatred as a badge of honor.
He represented the best in American journalism, believing that his job was to expose evil, wrong doing, and scandal, no matter where or who it fell on. He never apologized for his hard hitting style, and became a model for future journalism.
Journalists are not what they are to glorify or cover up for those who govern in any nation. They are not there to support wrong doing, or be concerned about attacks by politicians or foreign leaders. They are not there to do the whim of an employer, and are not to play politics themselves. Wallace was always true to his principles and beliefs.
Journalists are there to promote truth, and inform the public of that truth!
Mike Wallace set a standard for others that will not easily be matched in the future, but we are far better for his commitment to his profession! He will not be forgotten!