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CBS’s Mike Wallace: Too Many
Minutes of Liberal Bias
To mark his retirement, the May 21 edition of 60 Minutes devoted a
tribute to Mike Wallace. Below, from the MRC's archive, are some comments and
views from Wallace that were not mentioned on the tribute show:
- Wallace proclaimed that if he were traveling
with enemy soldiers he would not warn U.S. soldiers of an impending ambush
- Wallace was "astonished" wounded vets back the
- Wallace declared only a "[expletive] up"
America could elect Bush.
- He insisted the liberal bias charge is "damn
- He lent his name to a fundraiser for a pro-gun
- He doubted Bush's "validity," and said Iraq
was not a "good war."
- He mocked President's Bush's smarts and belief
in freeing people from oppression as he demanded, "Who gave George Bush the
duty to free people around the world?"
- And, Wallace voted for Green Party
presidential candidate Ralph Nader.
■ Wallace: Journalist
First, American Second (with Vintage Video). An illustrative
anecdote about how Mike Wallace viewed the world: On an edition of
the PBS panel series Ethics in America, devoted to war coverage,
which was taped at Harvard in late 1987, Wallace proclaimed that
if he were traveling with enemy soldiers he would not warn U.S.
soldiers of an impending ambush. "Don't you have a higher duty as
an American citizen to do all you can to save the lives of
soldiers rather than this journalistic ethic of reporting fact?",
moderator Charles Ogletree Jr. suggested. Without hesitating,
Wallace responded: "No, you don't have higher duty...you're a
reporter." When Brent Scrowcroft, the then-future National
Security Adviser, argued that "you're Americans first, and you're
journalists second," Wallace was mystified by the concept,
wondering "what in the world is wrong with photographing this
attack by [the imaginary] North Kosanese on American soldiers?"
George Connell, a Marine Corps Colonel,
reacted with disdain: "I feel utter contempt. Two days later
they're both walking off my hilltop, they're two hundred yards
away and they get ambushed. And they're lying there wounded. And
they're going to expect I'm going to send Marines up there to get
them. They're just journalists, they're not Americans." The
discussion concluded as Connell fretted: "But I'll do it. And
that's what makes me so contemptuous of them. And Marines will
die, going to get a couple of journalists."
More See & Hear the
More See & Hear the
For a full transcript of the exchanges, see the March 17,
(Second thoughts for Mike Wallace? In 1994,
he declared that if he were traveling with enemy soldiers he would not warn
Americans of an ambush. But seven years later he seemed to backtrack a bit, telling the
Wall Street Journal: "You certainly don't want to do any harm to this country
[or] to the war effort." Check the October 26, 2001 CyberAlert:
■ Wallace "Astonished" Wounded Vets Back Iraq War, Finds
Contrarian. Appearing by phone on the Imus in the Morning radio
simulcast on MSNBC, to plug his then-upcoming 60 Minutes report on the
struggles and achievements of some military members severely wounded in Iraq,
Mike Wallace admitted he was "astonished" at how "almost all of them support the
war despite the fact that it's taken such a toll on them." He elaborated, "We
asked them flat out: What about should we be there? And the ones that are the
most severely hit believe yes, we should have been there. They are not angry at
Indeed, in the 60 Minutes piece, Wallace gave four wounded vets a total
of 45 seconds to express support for the war -- but then allocated twice as much
time to a wounded vet to denounce the war. Over video of Tomas Young with Cindy
Sheehan, Wallace note how he "has become an anti-war activist since he was
paralyzed in Iraq." Young recalled how he heard President Bush "standing on the
rubble of the World Trade Center with a megaphone saying that we were going find
the people that did it and smoke them out of their caves and all that rah rah.
And so I wanted to go to Afghanistan to seek some form of retribution on the
people that did this to us." Instead of Afghanistan, Wallace pointed out, "he
found himself in Iraq, which he considers the wrong war in the wrong place."
See the February 13, 2006 CyberAlert:
■ Mike Wallace: Only a "[Expletive] Up" America Could
Elect Bush. CBS's Mike Wallace, of 60 Minutes fame, ridiculed
President Bush's qualifications for office when asked by the Boston Globe
what questions he'd pose to Bush if he got the chance. Wallace said he'd want to
ask if Bush thinks his election "has anything to do with the fact that the
country is so [expletive] up?" The Boston Globe's headline over the q and
a session conducted by Suzanne Ryan and run in Thursday's Arts and Entertainment
section: "At 87, Wallace still tells it like it is." Ryan had asked Wallace:
"President George W. Bush has declined to be interviewed by you. What would you
ask him if you had the chance?" Wallace, on a media tour to promote his memoir,
Between You and Me, began his answer: "What in the world prepared you to be the
commander in chief of the largest superpower in the world? In your background,
Mr. President, you apparently were incurious."
See the December 9, 2005 CyberAlert:
■ Mike Wallace: Liberal Bias "Damn Foolishness," No Bias
in Memos. Interviewed by his son, Chris, in a pre-taped session for Fox
News Sunday, Mike Wallace of CBS's 60 Minutes rejected as "damn
foolishness" the notion of any liberal media bias. Mike Wallace contended, as if
it were in doubt, that reporters are "patriots just as much as any conservative.
Even a liberal reporter is a patriot, wants the best for this country." Mike
Wallace then condescendingly charged: "Your fair and balanced friends at Fox
don't fully understand that." He also confirmed that he had told Dan Rather that
Rather should have resigned when his producers were fired over the Bush National
Guard memos story, but when Chris Wallace suggested that story agenda reflected
a bias -- "I think that they were quicker to believe it and, therefore, sloppier
about checking it out than they would have been about John Kerry" -- Mike
Wallace scorned the idea: "I don't believe that for a moment."
See the November 7, 2005 CyberAlert:
■ Celebrity Journalists Gather to Help Left-Wing
Anti-Gun Group. Can you imagine the National Rifle Association hosting a
fundraiser that's emceed by PBS's Mark Shields, featuring CBS's Mike Wallace and
former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, supported by Walter Cronkite and
current personalities at CNN and NBC News? Probably not. But a liberal group
that champions more gun control, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, will
be doing just that in hosting an 80th birthday party fundraiser for humorist Art
Buchwald in September in Washington at the French embassy.
See the July 12, 2005 CyberAlert:
■ Mike Wallace Doubts Bush's "Validity," Says Iraq Not
"Good War" (with Video). CBS News veteran Mike Wallace, at a Smithsonian
Institution "National World War II Reunion" event shown later by C-SPAN,
denounced the war in Iraq. "This is not, in my estimation, a good war," Wallace
declared. "I don't know how we got into a position where our present
Commander-in-Chief and the people around him," the 60 Minutes
correspondent lamented, "had the guts to take our kids and send them on what
seems to be -- it sure is not a
noble enterprise." Citing President George W. Bush's lack of military
experience, both Wallace and fellow panelist Allen Neuharth, founder of USA Today, unfavorably compared him to George
Washington and Wallace contrasted Bush with President Franklin Roosevelt, but
failed to acknowledge that FDR lacked any military experience.
For a full transcript of Wallace's comments, see the June 1, 2004 CyberAlert:
■ CBS's Wallace Mocks Bush's Smarts and Belief in
Freeing People. During his 60 Minutes sessions aired Sunday night
with Bob Woodward, author of the new book, Plan of Attack, CBS's Mike Wallace
mocked President's Bush's smarts and belief in freeing people from oppression.
Wallace demanded: "Who gave George Bush the duty to free people around the
world?" Wallace also jeeringly proposed: "The President of the United States,
without a great deal of background in foreign policy, makes up his mind and
believes he was sent by somebody to free the people -- not just in Iraq, but
around the world?" Woodward shared Wallace's concern: "It is far-reaching, and
ambitious, and I think will cause many people to tremble." Having established
Bush's irrationality, Wallace moved on to wondering "how deep a man is President
George W. Bush?" Woodward contended: "He is not an intellectual. He is not what
I guess would be called a deep thinker."
See the April 19, 2004 CyberAlert:
■ Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes voted for Green
Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, TV Guide revealed. Wallace's
admission came just four days after Don Hewitt, the Executive Producer of the
show, charged that George W. Bush "may have stolen the election," but he didn't
mind until Bush governed as a conservative. See the June 13, 2001 CyberAlert:
■ March 2006, when Wallace announced his retirement,
the MRC's Tim Graham gathered some old Notable Quotables from Wallace,
Yes, America Had A Tantrum.
"There was a temper tantrum that did take place in the American
electorate last November. No doubt about it. They were mad at the Democrats,
they were mad at the President. They were frustrated because, there's all kinds
of reasons to be frustrated, and talk radio -- in my estimation, I think the
President is right about that -- focuses on that." -- 60 Minutes reporter
Mike Wallace agreeing with the Peter Jennings radio commentary blaming the
November election result on "a temper tantrum....a nation full of uncontrolled
two-year-old rage."-- Interview with Arianna Huffington, CNBC's Talk Live, May
We're Just Objective Reporters,
Not Commentators. "The fact of the matter is that everybody you're
looking at here is a reporter, and the fellow in Moscow [Dan Rather] as well,
and we report about other people. There's not a commentator on this stage, and
that fellow in Moscow is not a commentator. So we simply don't do what you're
-- 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace defending a panel of CBS
reporters against charges of liberal bias, especially on abortion coverage, on
the May 18, 1990 Donahue.
Nostalgia For Brutal Order.
"Many Soviets viewing the current chaos and nationalist unrest under Gorbachev
look back almost longingly to the era of brutal order under Stalin."
-- Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes, February 11, 1990.
Mike's Inspirational Reading.
"I read Mother Jones carefully and look forward to every issue. After all,
stories that started out in Mother Jones have wound up on 60 Minutes."
-- CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace as quoted in a 1989
subscription letter for the far-left magazine.
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