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Posts Tagged ‘Close Encounters’

Mike Wallace Loves Arab Dictators

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Like a pig returning to his vomit, Mike Wallace came out of retirement last month to genuflect in the presence of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and then to spread the word that the man who’s denied the Holocaust and called for wiping Israel off the map is not really such a bad guy after all.

“He’s actually, in a strange way, he’s a rather attractive man,” gushed the 88-year-old Wallace, “very smart, savvy, self-assured, good looking in a strange way…. He couldn’t have been more accommodating.”

The interview itself, portions of which aired on “60 Minutes,” was not all that offensive, although Wallace didn’t try very hard to get Ahmadinejad to respond to the few tough questions he threw at him. But Wallace’s comments before and after the inter-view aired, particularly his stupefying performance on Sean Hannity’s ABC radio program, confirmed yet again that Arab dictators have a way of stripping away Wallace’s tough-guy persona and leaving him exposed as a swooning schoolgirl.

Asked by Hannity if he considers Ahmadinejad to be an anti-Semite, Wallace said, “No, I don’t.” When Hannity observed that Hitler and Stalin might have appeared “informed, smart, reasonable, even though they were evil,” Wallace responded: “Adolf Hitler? Good Lord. I mean, the man was such a hate-ful, hateful man.”

“So is Ahmadinejead, Mike,” replied Hannity. “Listen to his statements.”

To which a perplexed and increasingly incoherent Wallace responded: “What…running a Holocaust, which the Iranians have not done, as you know, running a Holocaust, doing that sort of thing, slaughtering six million Jews, that’s not what this man is talking about doing.”

The conversation continued (transcript courtesy of radioblogger.com):

Hannity: But Mike, but let me answer that. Mike, but his statements are such that he wants to go beyond that. His statements are annihilate, wipe off the Earth…

Wallace: No, no, no.

Hannity: …the world.

Wallace: Hold it, hold it.

Hannity: Wipe off the map.

Wallace: Yes, he says wipe off the map, and of course I asked him over and over about that. He says in effect, hey, it’s perfectly sensible to do…pardon me. It’s perfectly sensible for them, and I’m not quoting directly, obviously, because I don’t have the translation in front of me, to…for them to…it’s per-fectly sensible, if there is a Holocaust, and let’s buy the fact that there was a Holocaust. Where did the Holocaust take place? Did it take place in an Arab neighborhood? Did it take place in Jerusalem? No. It took place in Germany. Then it seems to me, under those circumstances, take Israel, the Zionist entity, he called it, move it to Germany. Move it to Europe. That’s where it happened.

Hannity: Do you agree with him?

Wallace: Move it to the United States.

Hannity: Do you think that’s a legitimate argument?

Wallace: It’s an argument. I’m not a commentator. You are.

The sad thing is that Wallace, as mentioned above, has a history of fawning over the most ruthless enemies of his own people. Back in 2002 he appeared on “Larry King Live” to talk up an interview he’d recently conducted with Palestinian terror boss Yasir Arafat.

“You know something, Larry,” he said, expressing the kind of sympathy and understanding he never extends to American leaders, “I came to – I came to admire Arafat beginning back in 1977….He has made mistakes along the way as all of us do….”

In 1975, during a notorious “60 Minutes” whitewashing of the late Syrian dictator Hafez As-sad, Wallace characterized the thug who killed tens of thousands of his own people as “cool, strong, austere and independent.” (One can almost feel Wallace’s knees turning to jelly as he spoke those words.)

And then there was Anwar Sadat – a despot who arrested and jailed thousands of political opponents, a one-man junta who never won an openly contested election in his life, an admirer of Hitler who in 1953 wrote that Hitler, even in defeat, had “become the immortal leader of Germany.”

In his memoir Close Encounters Wallace described himself as “an unabashed admirer” of Sadat. “I respected him as a statesman, a leader of his people, and in my personal dealings with him…he came across as an honest and sensitive man who was endowed with considerable charm and a fine sense of humor.”

Mike Wallace: A Ham-And-Cheese On Yom Kippur Kind Of Jew

Wednesday, August 21st, 2002
This week the Monitor concludes its extended look at the anti-Israel proclivities of “60 Minutes” stalwart Mike Wallace. As we’ve noted in our earlier installments, Wallace has always displayed a palpable ambivalence – some would say that’s too charitable a word – when dealing with Jewish issues, never more so than when he downplayed the plight of Soviet Jewry in the 1980′s and Syrian Jewry in the 1970′s.(By the way, the contretemps over Wallace’s reporting from Syria yielded a wonderful anecdote thanks to a delicious little dig delivered to Wallace’s boss, Don Hewitt, by Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, who served in the mid-70′s as president of the American Jewish Congress.

(Hertzberg and several other AJC officials, incensed at Wallace and “60 Minutes” for what they considered an out-and- out whitewash of Syrian anti-Semitism, paid a visit to Hewitt’s office. As they were being introduced, Hertzberg dryly remarked, “Hewitt? Hewitt? I imagine there’s a Horowitz under there somewhere.”

(Hewitt was taken aback, and Wallace later expressed his dismay at Hertzberg’s unexpected temerity, but Hertzberg was on to something: Hewitt’s paternal grandfather had indeed changed the family name, from Hurwitz to Hewitt, in the early 1900′s.)

We’ve already seen how Wallace’s tough-guy persona melts away in the presence of murderous thugs like Syria’s Hafez Assad and the PLO’s Yasir Arafat. But there was one more Arab dictator who could make Wallace swoon like a silly little schoolgirl.

Writing in his memoir Close Encounters of a 1978 interview with Anwar Sadat, Wallace gushed that he “had become an unabashed admirer of” the Egyptian president. “I respected him as a statesman, a leader of his people, and in my personal dealings with him (and this was our third interview in less than a year), he came across as an honest and sensitive man who was endowed with considerable charm and a fine sense of humor.”

Now, Sadat may have been a tad more cultivated than your run-of-the-mill Third World despot, but a despot he was - a dictatorial ruler who did not hesitate to arrest and jail his political opponents, a one-man junta who never won an honestly contested election in his life. Slap Sadat into a Chilean army uniform and call him Pinochet, and you can bet Wallace would view him with nothing but distaste and condescension. But Sadat was a strongman of the Arab variety, in whose presence Wallace’s spine and kneecaps couldn’t help but turn to guava jelly.

One last thing about Wallace. The Washington Post’s Lloyd Grove reported last September that Wallace was spotted ordering a ham sandwich on Yom Kippur at a popular Capitol Hill restaurant. When Grove asked him about it, Wallace nonchalantly confirmed that, yes, “I had a cheddar and ham sandwich.”

Pressed further by Grove, Wallace turned smarmy: “I am a Reform Jew,” he said. “The best thing I can do is serve my master.”

Ordinarily the Monitor wouldn’t bother with the level of religious observance on the part of journalists, but Wallace seems to have this curious need to publicly flaunt his disregard of Yom Kippur. Let’s turn back to Wallace’s memoir Close Encounters, where he recounts a September 1967 meeting with Leonard Garment, a close associate of Richard Nixon, who was then just beginning to put together his ultimately successful 1968 presidential campaign.

“Perhaps,” wrote Wallace, “I should mention that it was not just any day in September but Yom Kippur, and although both Len Garment and I are Jewish, it did not deter us from breaking forbidden bread together while our more pious brethren observed the traditional rites of prayer and fasting.”

The more things change, the more they remain the same. Any further questions?

Next Week: The Monitor’s “Friends” List - reporters and columnists who refuse to be swayed by Palestinian propaganda.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com  

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/media-monitor-53/2002/08/21/

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