Mike Wallace: Liberal Bias Charge “Damn Foolishness,” No Bias Behind Memogate

<img vspace="0" hspace="0" border="0" align="right" src="/media/2005-11-6-FOXFNSWallaceWallace.jpg" />Interviewed by his son, Chris, in a pre-taped session for <i>Fox News Sunday</i>, Mike Wallace of CBS’s <i>60 Minutes</i> 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&quot; -- Mike Wallace scorned the idea: &quot;I don't believe that for a moment.&quot;<br /><br />Chris Wallace moved on to his father’s new book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1401300294/qid=1131373526/... You and Me</i></a>. Full transcript, of discussion about liberal bias and Memogate, follows.<br /><br />
<!--break-->From the November 6 <i>Fox News Sunday</i>: <br /><blockquote>Chris Wallace: “I get e-mails from time to time saying to me you're just like your father. And they don't mean it as a compliment.”<br /><br />Mike Wallace: “What does that mean?”<br /><br />Chris Wallace: “They say, 'Go to CBS. Go to one of the big networks. Go to the mainstream media’ -- as if that were a foreign land. Do you understand why some people feel such disaffection for the mainstream media?”<br /><br />Mike Wallace: “Oh, yeah. They think we're wild-eyed commies, liberals. Yes?”<br /><br />Chris Wallace: “That's what they think. And how do you plead?”<br /><br />Mike Wallace: “I think it's damn foolishness. Really. Look, you know as well as I, reporters are in the business because they want to be -- first of all, they're patriots just as much as any conservative. Even a liberal reporter is a patriot, wants the best for this country. And people -- you know, your fair and balanced friends at Fox don't fully understand that. And I can't believe that this is going on. This is not like a dinner table conversation.”<br /><br />Chris Wallace: “I understand. But all right. But you say, and you have been saying it all week, that Dan Rather should have resigned when his producer and his executive producer were fired over the Bush National Guard story with the fake memos.”<br /><br />Mike Wallace: “Right, right.”<br /><br />Chris Wallace: “Why?”<br /><br />Mike Wallace: “Who does the research for and with you?”<br /><br />Chris Wallace: “I have a team.”<br /><br />Mike Wallace: “Right. And he has a team. Now, if your team were fired because of something that happened in a broadcast that you anchored, would you not think about -- look. If you get the money, you get the attention, you get the kudos, and what do they get? They're paid a lot less. They're not on the air. They work like the dickens. You're unpleasant to work for. So you know, I simply asked Rather, in a very pleasant, civilized conversation in the bathroom -- there was no shouting, as has been suggested. Come on, we're friends.”<br /><br />Chris Wallace: “Let's talk about the story itself. Some people, the people that have questions about the mainstream media, say Rather and his team were so quick to believe the fake memos because they are so quick, as are a lot of people in the mainstream media, to believe the worst about George W. Bush.”<br /><br />Mike Wallace: “Are you serious? You believe that somebody on purpose failed to authenticate those memos? I mean, come on.”<br /><br />Chris Wallace: “I think-”<br /><br />Mike Wallace: “Do you buy into the fact that the-”<br /><br />Chris Wallace: “Now, this is feeling familiar! I think that they were quicker to believe it and, therefore, sloppier about checking it out than they would have been about John Kerry.”<br /><br />Mike Wallace: “I don't believe that for a moment.”</blockquote><br />

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center