'They're Still in Denial'

J$P Instant Transcript! The News Watch panel dissects Mike Wallace's comments on being a reporter.

From Fox News Watch, November 5 2005:

ERIC BURNS [FOX NEWS]: Quick take headline number three: All in the Family. Fox News Channel newsman Chris Wallace interviewed his father CBS newsman Mike Wallace recently. And here is what Mike had to say about why reporters are reporters:

VIDEO - MIKE WALLACE [CBS NEWS]: Reporters are in the business because they want to be--first of all, they're patriots. Just as much as any conservative. Even a liberal reporter is a patriot, wants the best for this country. And people, your fair and balanced friends at Fox, don't fully understand that.

BURNS: Jane, interesting that the first point that would come to his mind about why a reporter is a reporter is to serve patriotic ends.

JANE HALL [AMERICAN UNIVERSITY]: Well, I tend to agree with him. And there was a time, after 9/11, when a lot of people were wearing flag pins and declaring their patriotism. And if you seemed to be criticizing the war in Iraq, people went after your patriotism. And I think he's responding to that, not necessarily at Fox, but just that has been the climate.

BURNS: Well, at Fox too--

HALL: Well, he's speaking--

BURNS: Here's one of our fair and balanced friends right now.

CAL THOMAS [SYNDICATED COLUMNIST]: Well, that's right. I've got two arms, one left, one right. When he said "your fair and balanced friends at Fox", that betrays the elitism that most conservatives have seen in the big media. They've lost the battle; they're no longer the gatekeepers. People can get different information than just from the three big networks. And they're still in denial about this. And as long as they're in denial, they can change all the anchors they want, they can change all the news network presidents they want. They're still going to lose and deservedly so.

NEIL GABLER [MEDIA WRITER]: Well I'm not going to address that, but I think what Wallace says is nonsense. Lookit, there are as many different reasons for people to be in news as there are the number of reporters. And patriotism is probably not all that high on the list. Which is no knock, that it should be all that high on the list. They're here to serve the public. Patriotism isn't necessarily a way to serve the public.

JIM PINKERTON [SYNDICATED COLUMNIST]: I'll always remember, in Jody Powell, who was Jimmy Carter's press secretary's, memoirs, he said reporters used to get so mad at him they refused to stand during the national anthem or the pledge of allegiance. That is how mad they were. Which I think speaks to an attitude they have toward patriotic celebrations.

HALL: Patriotism means love of country, and this profession's protected in the constitution as a watchdog for people. I think it's a patriotic job. I disagree with Neal.

GABLER: But let's not, we talk about "they". It's not "they". There are hundreds of thousands of these guys. There's no "they".

BURNS: You can see son Chris's entire interview with Dad Mike if you are so inclined on this weekend's Fox News Sunday.

posted: Sat - November 5, 2005 at 07:21 PM       j$p  send