A look at the career of ’60 Minutes’ newsman, Mike Wallace.
Director: Avi Belkin
Star: Mike Wallace
Modern history is littered with examples of authoritarian rulers attacking the press. The current occupant of the White House has referred to journalists as “the enemy of the people” and calls critical coverage of him “fake news.”
For more than a half century, Mike Wallace, a pioneer in investigative TV journalism, attempted to hold those in power accountable with his confrontational and occasionally controversial interviews. Avi Belkin’s sobering documentary Mike Wallace Is Here paints a compelling and complex, but sometimes scattered, portrait of the man who, driven by his insecurities and heartache, devoted his life to this work.
Using only archival footage, Belkin spotlights how Wallace, who died at 93 in 2012, lived a life of contradictions. He was a pitchman and game show host turned hard-hitting journalist. He enjoyed asking tough questions but bristled at being asked them. He inspired generations of journalists with his work on Night Beat and 60 Minutes, but also influenced acerbic TV talking heads. (The film opens with disgraced former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly telling Wallace he was the “driving force” behind his career.)
The latter point is Belkin’s wake up call. With so many unchecked voices in the wider media landscape, the truth can be drowned out. For the sake of American democracy, that can’t happen.
— Kelyn Soong, Washington City Paper