Remembering Mike Wallace

'60 Minutes' correspondent 'loved being Mike Wallace'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2012 5:26 PM CDT
Remembering Mike Wallace
This 1968 photo released by CBS shows "60 Minutes" correspondents Harry Reasoner, left, and Mike Wallace, right, with creator and producer Don Hewitt on the set in New York.   (AP Photo/CBS Photo Archive)

Appreciations are pouring in for legendary CBS news correspondent Mike Wallace, who died today at age 93. Not only did he pioneer the modern news interview, he "loved being Mike Wallace"—but was haunted by his role in the accidental death of his teenage son Peter:

  • In an interview, Wallace recalled taking Peter hiking near the Gulf of Corinth in 1962. Looking over a cliff, Wallace suddenly saw Peter lying dead below. "That’s when his eyes started to well a bit, which I’m counting as crying, because I know that Mike Wallace will be remembered mostly as the granite-nosed, zero-nonsense, “Give me a break!” tough guy, and by his signature emotion, outrage," writes Todd Richissin on MarionPatch.

  • "He pioneered techniques such as the ambush interview, confrontations with suspected malefactors, hidden cameras, and the echo response, repeating a particularly telling phrase from the interviewee—although this became tiresome in the mouths of lesser broadcasters," writes Christopher Reed in the Guardian.
  • "Wallace was known for doing prodigious research, a lost art in today’s hurried media," notes Eleanor Clift on the Daily Beast. "He never wanted to be surprised; he understood the power of a random piece of information sprung on an unsuspecting subject."
  • "He loved being Mike Wallace," CBS News chairman Jeff Fager tells the AP. "He loved the fact that if he showed up for an interview, it made people nervous. ... He knew, and he knew that everybody else knew, that he was going to get to the truth."
  • "I don't recall anybody ever saying to me, `He took a cheap shot' or `he did the obvious,' or that he was, you know, was playing some kind of game," said Fox News Channel Chairman Roger Ailes. "He actually was trying to serve the audience and that's what made him great."
  • "RIP Mike Wallace," tweets political analyst Jeff Greenfield. "Check out his 50s 'Nightbeat' show on DuMont (!) network if YouTube has 'em: 1st to do confrontational interviews." (YouTube does have one with Ayn Rand and another with Salvador Dali.)
  • Finally, an unlikely tweet from Simpsons writer Mike Scully: "MIKE WALLACE TO GOD: 'Forgive me for asking, but...Adam & Eve? Noah's Ark? Burning bush? Parting the Red Sea? I mean, come on!'"
(More Mike Wallace stories.)

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