Wallace left real legacy of truth, fairness

Published 10:35 am Tuesday, April 10, 2012

When he was once asked to write his own epitaph, esteemed journalist Mike Wallace did so in three words: Tough but fair.

Wallace, a founding host of the CBS news program “60 Minutes” and a man considered to be one of best interviewers of all time, died Saturday at the age of 93.

Wallace worked on “60 Minutes” for almost 50 years and built his reputation as an investigative journalist on a fearless pursuit for the truth and ability to communicate with some of the most important men and women in the past century.

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Long before the Internet, cable television networks and the 24-hour news cycle, Wallace stood out as someone who wasn’t afraid to ask the tough questions to which Americans needed answers. He paved the way for so many who followed in his footsteps and showed that television news could rival print when it came to hard-hitting, in-depth coverage.

The fact that our society now has far more talking heads and amateur reporters than it does true journalists makes Wallace’s passing all the more painful.

The man’s legacy can be found instilled in all the viewers he challenged through his reporting to think about the world and their place in it.

And despite the many failings of television news as a whole and the shortcomings of many of today’s journalists, there are countless others in the profession who are simply better because of Mike Wallace.

That should be his true epitaph.