Where Has Mike Wallace Gone?
I was younger then, but even so, it was stimulating. The stories, the people, the places. At eight I was old for my age, interested in events other children my age didn’t pay much attention toward. Maybe it was the argumentative journalistic style that appealed to my want to be a lawyer. That said, I always enjoyed CBS at 7 PM on Sunday nights. 60 Minutes was, secretly, one of my favorite shows. It wasn’t the type of program where I could say to my fourth grade classmates, “Hey, did you see that segment on the agriculture department whistle blower?” At that age it would have warranted ridicule and the claims that I was a nerd (which wasn’t quite so far from the truth).
Reflection and intrigue, that’s what I felt when I watched the 60 Minutes tribute to the late Mike Wallace who passed at the overly ripe age of 93. Many of his interviews were played – classical musicians, heads of state, actors, war veterans and whistle blowers alike. He was charismatic, but not charming. Direct, but not accusatory. Inquisitive, but not aggressive. He was a real journalist. A man who asked questions to get a little something his audience may not expect to hear.
Which brings me to my next thought, – what the hell do we have now? Anderson Cooper crying? Piers Morgan interviewing Kim Kardashian in a low cut shirt? Every Fox News correspondant lobbing softballs at Republicans and grilling Democrats with a smug air? What happened to fair,non partisan reporting. I am a big fan of Jon Stewart, but he is as guilty as anyone. Sure his sound bites are real, but the context is certainly not always dead to rights.
So I ask, will there ever be another Mike Wallace? Will anyone take that torch? Or has that torch been extinguished long ago? Are we so far gone where the truth and not fluff, spun by a political philosophy is the letter of the day?
I wonder and it makes me sad.