Posts Tagged ‘Avi Belkin’


90 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

Mike Wallace was the take-no-bullshit TV newsman who asked the questions that made his subjects — and sometimes his audience — squirm in discomfort.

Early in “Mike Wallace Is Here” we see some old studio footage of Wallace being “interviewed’ by his “60  Minutes” colleague Morley Safer.

“Mike,” Safer asks, “why are you such a prick?”

Questioned about his borderline brutal methodology, Wallace would say he was motivated by a search for the truth.

But as Avi Belkin’s documentary makes painfully clear, much of Wallace’s bulldog style was born of insecurity, of a sense of unworthiness.

Indeed, the first 20 or so minutes are crammed with cringeworthy examples of the things an acne-ravaged young Mike Wallace did to survive in the early days of television. He took acting gigs. Even more dubious, given his future calling as a journalist, he was a glib pitchman, a shill, a soulless talking head for products ranging from cigarettes to kitchen gadgets.

Small wonder that during his early years at CBS Wallace’s newsroom colleagues speculated that he was only portraying a journalist.

It’s pretty clear that Wallace was himself hung up on that question.


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