Mike Wallace was one tough s.o.b. — or so he wanted you to think of him on air. Off camera he could be as charming as Rhett Butler.
We were colleagues during my seven years at CBS News and our offices were on the same floor. He was always polite, attentive, encouraging. Competitive, yes, but not ruthless. Nobody could beat him at quick banter; once, when I produced a series for PBS on the stories of Genesis, he said, “Moyers, you’re the only guy still standing who can make money selling the Bible.”
But he took a serious interest in the reporting I did for the old Edward R. Murrow documentary series See It Now, and as he had undertaken assignments for that series, too, he would come around and compare notes on different techniques of interviewing. He was kidding, I’m sure, when he said that in another life he would have stayed with what we call “long form” reporting, because he would have missed out on the fame and fortune that came when his tough-guy interrogations helped the scrappy and classy 60 Minutes climb to the top of the broadcast heap.
He relished the pursuit of a story, and his many personal challenges — from depression to family tragedies — never diminished his ardor for the chase. I was trying to make a journalist out of myself after several years in politics and government; he had already made a journalist out of himself after several years as an entertainer. And he was generous toward the new kid on the block, as to so many others. He put spine into broadcast reporting, and by his example mentored the lot of us.
Briefly, we wanted to update you on where Truthout stands this month.
To be brutally honest, Truthout is behind on our fundraising goals for the year. There are a lot of reasons why. We’re dealing with broad trends in our industry, trends that have led publications like Vice, BuzzFeed, and National Geographic to make painful cuts. Everyone is feeling the squeeze of inflation. And despite its lasting importance, news readership is declining.
To ensure we stay out of the red by the end of the year, we have a long way to go. Our future is threatened.
We’ve stayed online over two decades thanks to the support of our readers. Because you believe in the power of our work, share our transformative stories, and give to keep us going strong, we know we can make it through this tough moment.
We’ve launched a campaign to raise $43,000 in the next 6 days. Please consider making a donation today.