Mike Wallace dead. 59 Minutes left. Well, 56, really!

Mike Wallace

Mike Wallace

Mike Wallace died. I’m obviously very sad.
When I was younger and still believed in euphemisms and utopia (and other strange concepts), it was Mr. Wallace I followed for decades and decades for information, investigative reporting of the highest quality and so on. He did not stand alone in my inquisitive mind. I got hooked early on, at the British Library on columnists such as Bernard Levin and Arendt and ….And Larry King was the king of another kind of “truth” and so were Walter Cronkite and the late Ed Bradley (also “60 Minutes”) followed by Christiane Amampour and Richard Quest and Tom Brokaw and so many others. But Wallace was unique, confrontational and a hell of a narcissist. There’s that movie based on a (supposedly) true story (forget the name of it and I’m not Gooooogleing anything, so fuck it!!! I remember that Christopher Plummer played Wallace).
Just very sad that the “eternally young and depressed” Mike Wallace has gone. I once saw a piece on him in which he described his diet of nuts and dried fruit. Well, it lasted while it lasted and it lasted a good while.
Have a great time up there and say hello to Mr Rooney and Bradley and Ed Murrow and Jennings and your former boss and editor (who’s name now escapes me). Isn’t life a funny Beckettian platform? “On, say ON, say somehow ON. Say somehow….OFF” (my adaptation)
Gerald Thomas
Rio de Janeiro March 8, 2012

From The New York Times
A reporter with the presence of a performer, Mr. Wallace went head to head with chiefs of state, celebrities and con artists for more than 50 years, living for the moment when “you forget the lights, the cameras, everything else, and you’re really talking to each other,” he said in an interview with The New York Times videotaped in July 2006.

Mr. Wallace created enough such moments to become a paragon of television journalism in the heyday of network news. As he grilled his subjects, he said, he walked “a fine line between sadism and intellectual curiosity.”

His success often lay in the questions he hurled, not the answers he received.

“Perjury,” he said, in his staccato style, to President Richard M. Nixon’s right-hand man, John D. Ehrlichman, while interviewing him during the Watergate affair. “Plans to audit tax returns for political retaliation. Theft of psychiatric records. Spying by undercover agents. Conspiracy to obstruct justice. All of this by the law-and-order administration of Richard Nixon.”

Mr. Ehrlichman paused and said, “Is there a question in there somewhere?”

No, Mr. Wallace later conceded. But it was riveting television.

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