The legacy of Mike Wallace, 1918-2012

I have such fondness for people who keep doing what they do up to the very end. Like his “60 Minutes” colleague, Andy Rooney, who passed away in November, Mike kept working until the end. He was 93.

You youngsters may not believe this, but there was a time when “investigative journalism” meant more than a Unit 5 Special Report on people being overcharged on their cable bills. “60 Minutes” did actual investigations and asked the hard questions, like Mike Wallace digging into the lies of the Vietnam War.

Watch the clip below and ask yourself who today in journalism has this nose for pressing to find the truth behind the lies.

….

In my day job, I work for a company that sells books to school libraries. One day I visited the offices of the third largest public school district in the US, Chicago Public Schools, as an IT guy to talk about how we could improve their purchasing flow and, of course, get some of their business. The purchasing process was very involved and there was documentation about everything CPS bought, so that nobody could accuse tax dollars of being misused or misappropriated.

The head of the purchasing department told us, “I know this is detailed, but we can’t have any questions about where the money goes. I have to be be ready for the day Mike Wallace shows up at my office with a camera crew.” Such was Wallace’s reputation as the standard bearer for public scrutiny.

Mike Wallace, holder of feet to the fire, I salute you, and wish for more like you.

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