It’s household news by now in the United States at least that 60 Minutes News Anchorman Mike Wallace passed away this past weekend. He hosted the show for more than 40 years and before that he was a host, announcer, journalist and even an actor since the mid-1950s. I personally have such a strong sense of Mike Wallace within me that it almost feels as though he is family, having grown up my entire life watching him every Sunday evening on television talk the tough talk and ask the tough questions that no one else dared to ask but we all dreamed we would if we were ever in such a position ourselves. Much like Peter Jennings before him, who lived just a few blocks away from us here in Manhattan and whose children went to school with a few of my close friends, Mike Wallace’s passing marks another milestone in what appears symbolically like the death of real journalism. The kind Edward R. Murrow and even the less serious minded but equally sincere Jack Parr and Dick Cavett used to also represent to the world.
It is after all a new Age in Communications. Shock and Awe are the tools of today’s journalistic trade, not honest journalism of value and integrity. There are reasons for this. Primarily the fact that due to technological advances, and the advent of the Personal Expression Age in general, we now face such an overwhelming abundance of information outlets and vehicles so numerous that the goal has switched from “quality and substance in news reporting” to “gaining the public’s attention through any and all means necessary”. This is more than unfortunate for us all. It is hard to discern what real news is anymore. But that’s for another story later on down the road. For today, let us just remember that men like Mike Wallace and his colleagues at 60 Minutes did exist, and still do today. We will always remember their many great contributions to our lives through both information and entertainment.