In acknowledging Mike Wallace's semi-retirement, CBS News President Sean McManus handed out a bouquet of praise: "Mike has completely embodied what good, tough, fair journalism should be over the course of his 60-plus years in the business."
Is that true? Is he Mr. Fairness? No. To the MRC, the record shows that Wallace has been just another well-paid CBS partisan liberal, and more so recently, on the Iraq war. Here's a sampler of Notable Quotables:
The New York Times (via TVNewser) discovered that CBS "60 Minutes" fixture Mike Wallace will retire: "After serving as a correspondent on 60 Minutes since its inception in September 1968, Mr. Wallace said today that he had decided to retire this spring, at the end of the current television season. He said that the move had come at his initiative, and that 'CBS is not pushing me.'"
Conservatives might not want to cheer too loud. TV Newser suggests in the next posting, a tipster told him executive producer Jeff Fager wants more room for refugees from the cancelled "60 Minutes II"...So now there will be more room for former 60 II correspondent Scott Pelley and the rest of the team. "Don't be surprised to see Aaron Brown join, along with the newly recruited Katie Couric...imagine that!," an e-mailer says, adding "now who will replace [Andy] Rooney?" The departure makes some sense, as Wallace just recently sold a new version of his memoirs. And now CBS is off the hook on those gun-control stories Wallace was supposed to skip.
For Wallace-watchers of a more seasoned vintage, perhaps the most-recounted Wallace anecdote didn't appear on CBS, but on PBS. The year was 1989, as MediaWatch recounted an "Ethics in America" panel discussion on war coverage:
It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows "60 Minutes" on a regular basis that the reporters have a problem with presenting facts, or at least truth in disclosure concerning the “experts” they bring on to give us the facts.
I'm a little surprised that disgraced CBS producer Mary Mapes hasn't drawn a little more blogger interest for her (okay, tired and bitter) latest appearance on the Pacifica Radio show "Democracy Now." It was a two-part interview. Last Thursday, she was reliving her downfall after her Bush-bashing October Surprise as those obsessive bloggers took over: "in fact, by the time our story was off the air on the west coast, I mean, the moment it went off the air, it was -- it went nuts.
Dan Rather spoke in Los Angeles -- and said all the same things about how journalism needs a "spine transplant" -- it sounds better than journalism needs "document authentication before broadcast." But the next time someone in the media elite mocks the president for cheerleaders-only town hall meetings, see how the Los Angeles Times notes the Rather talk went, late in their article:
You can’t swing a dead cat lately without smacking into an article concerning Congressman John Murtha’s (D-Pennsylvania) view of the necessity to withdraw American troops from Iraq. In fact, as reported by the MRC’s Brent Baker, Murtha is going to be on CBS’s “60 Minutes” discussing exactly that on Sunday with none other than Mike Wallace. However, for some reason, that same demised feline has little chance of ever coming in contact with a report of the Congressman’s proclivities to take funds from Washington lobbyists. Today, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette broke ranks from the mainstream media in this regard.
In an article entitled “Santorum Reaps Money From Lobbyists,” the Post-Gazette’s Maeve Reston led with the revelation that Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) has taken more money from Washington lobbyists in the 2006 election cycle than anyone else on Capitol Hill. However:
Previewing, on Friday's CBS Evening News the Sunday 60 Minutes segment, Wallace bucked up Murtha’s credibility by touting how he “is a decorated veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He was a Marine for 37 years, knows a lot about the military, been a Congressman for 32 years, so he knows a bit about politics, too.” And “based on all of that, he told us that most American troops will be out of Iraq a lot sooner than we think." The brief excerpt from the Sunday 60 Minutes piece focused on Murtha’s prediction that by the end of the year the “vast majority” of troops will be out of Iraq. Wallace relayed: “Murtha told us that mounting pressure from constituents in this election year will force the Congress to pass his withdrawal plan or something like it to bring the troops home." I’d bet the full 13-14 minute version on Sunday night, which is previewed on CBSNews.com, will include a lot more admiration for Murtha and his cause. (Transcripts of the CBS Evening News story, as well as Wallace’s comments about Iraq, follow.)
Few shows have shown more of an anti-Bush, anti-conservative slant than CBS's "60 Minutes." (See this report on their complete Bush v. Kerry one-sidedness in 2004.) But that doesn't mean CBS people will admit it. CBS's "Public Eye" site has a question and answer feature called "10 Plus 1," which is ten questions from Public Eye staffers and one from the public.