Mike Wallace Remembered: Mr. Fairness or Another CBS Liberal? (Pick B)

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:

What? Wounded Vets Aren't Peaceniks Yet? "I was astonished: Almost all of them support the war, despite the fact that it’s taken such a toll on them. We asked them flat out: 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 the President, they’re not angry at the establishment. I promise you, you’ll be astonished if you’re up that late on Sunday night."
— CBS’s Mike Wallace on MSNBC’s Imus in the Morning February 10, 2006, where he was promoting his 60 Minutes story on four severely wounded veterans of the Iraq war.

Bush Bleeped the Country Up. Boston Globe’s Suzanne Ryan: "President George W. Bush has declined to be interviewed by you. What would you ask him if you had the chance?"
CBS’s Mike Wallace [ellipses in original]: "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. You didn’t want to travel. You knew very little about the military....The governor of Texas doesn’t have the kind of power that some governors have....Why do you think they nominated you?...Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that the country is so [expletive] up?"
— Exchange published in the December 8, 2005 Boston Globe.

It's Cheney's Vietnam. Bill O’Reilly: "Is Iraq Vietnam?"
CBS’s Mike Wallace: "Well, you know, 58,000 people were killed in Vietnam....Iraq is becoming a kind of Vietnam. We should never have gone into Iraq. We were sold a bill of goods. Now, whether the President was sold a bill of goods or whether Dick Cheney was sitting in the chair at that time, I don’t know."
— Exchange on FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor, November 28, 2005.

Iraq, Not A Heroic War. "[During World War II] we knew what we were fighting for. We knew how important it was. We loved our country. We loved our Commander-in-Chief....This is not, in my estimation, a good war....I don’t know how we got into a position where our present Commander-in-Chief and the people around him had the guts to take our kids and send them on what seems to be – it sure is not a noble enterprise."
– CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace at a May 28, 2005 Smithsonian Institution "National World War II Reunion" event shown later that same day on C-SPAN.

Who Told Bush To Be A Liberator? Bob Woodward: "The President still believes, with some conviction, that this [the Iraq war] was absolutely the right thing, that he has the duty to free people, to liberate people, and this was his moment."
Mike Wallace: "Who gave George Bush the duty to free people around the world?"
Woodward: "That’s a really good question. The Constitution doesn’t say that’s part of the Commander-in-Chief’s duties."
Wallace: "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: "That’s his stated purpose. It is far-reaching, and ambitious, and I think will cause many people to tremble."
— Exchange on CBS’s 60 Minutes, April 18, 2004.

Don't Call Me A Sellout, I Voted for Nader. "[Rutgers University professor Benjamin] Barber charged that [CBS correspondent Mike] Wallace and his network news colleagues were little more than establishment spokesmen for grand entertainment empires, corporations that are easily co-opted by the powers that be. Wallace countered that 60 Minutes had done several pieces over the years that had caused advertisers to boycott the network. ‘We don’t cave in to commercial pressures,’ he said. Later, perhaps needing to prove to the assembled that he was no establishment stooge, he revealed that Green Party candidate Ralph Nader got his vote in the 2000 election. ‘I’m basically an independent,’ Wallace says to TV Guide."
– Item by Max Robins in the June 16-22, 2001 issue of TV Guide, recounting an exchange at a May 25 "Future of Journalism" forum in New York City.

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 6, 1995.

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 saying."
-- 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.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis