NEWSWATCH by Thomas Griffith: Mike Wallace's Jugular Journalism

The face is familiar: the sharp eyes, the alert and aggressive manner, the quick and probing questions—and sometimes the grin of disbelief crossing the face as a quarry makes an unconvincing reply. Mike Wallace, though not a newspaperman, is what most Americans probably think an investigative reporter looks like. Television's 60 Minutes, which he, Morley Safer and Dan Rather preside over, rarely makes headlines with its reporting, but it consistently hits the mark with tales of wrongdoing and with vivid, edgy interviewing.

Investigative reporting, at its infrequent best, is journalism's most...

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