In this 1995 article, a 1987 TV show is recalled, where Mike Wallace professed to be a “reporter” and nothing else. Nada. Discussion was about saving U.S. troops vs. getting the story. Wallace was for getting the story. Newscaster Peter Jennings had just said he’d save the troops, even at the cost of his own life.
Ogletree [the moderator] turned for reaction to Mike Wallace, who immediately replied. “I think some other reporters would have a different reaction,” he said, obviously referring to himself. “They would regard it simply as another story they were there to cover.” A moment later Wallace said, “I am astonished, really.” He turned toward Jennings and began to lecture him: “You’re a reporter. Granted you’re an American” (at least for purposes of the fictional example; Jennings has actually retained Canadian citizenship). “I’m a little bit at a loss to understand why, because you’re an American, you would not have covered that story.” Ogletree pushed Wallace. Didn’t Jennings have some higher duty to do something other than just roll film as soldiers from his own country were being shot?
“No,” Wallace said flatly and immediately. “You don’t have a higher duty. No. No. You’re a reporter!”
A truncated view, to be sure, but widely embraced, we fear, by the reportorial community. Wallace was bespeaking journalistic objectivity, a good thing, a dying attitude, but sans examination, sans morality. Unabashedly, and on air he turned Jennings around, making them both the object of scorn of soldiers also on the panel. And of many, we presume, who were not.
(Hat tip Instapundit)