Mike Wallace, the famous CBS News journalist who made his mark on CBS 60 Minutes, to me is the best TV interviewer of all-time, or least what I’ve heard. Because he could interview anyone, because of his knowledge and the research he did. He was truly dedicated to his craft. Which is how he was able interview athletes, entertainers, politicians including Presidents and even mobster Mickey Cohen back in the 1950s on the Mike Wallace Interview. But he could also interview people who were in politics, but people who didn’t currently hold office. People who were outside in the sense that they weren’t public officials, but sill influential to the point that they could influence people in how they think.
People like columnists and other writers like authors. People who made a living telling others what they know and what they think about things. Professors and other intellectuals. People like Ayn Rand, one of the most if not the most influential people on libertarianism today. Meaning Ayn Rand, who a lot of Libertarian Americans, people like Ron Paul and others and would bring attention to people who had political beliefs that weren’t popular at the time, or even commonly known. So when Mike Wallace interviewed Ayn Rand in 1959 and interviewing one of the most influential intellectuals on Libertarians and some Conservatives, he wasn’t out of his element. This is no offense to Larry King, but this wasn’t Larry King interviewing Milton Friedman, or someone else with a lot of stature.
Mike Wallace, knew what he was getting into and took the Devils Advocate approach to interviewing Ayn. She was the Objectivist, or Libertarian and he took the side of the Progressive in doing this interview. Self-reliance and self-sufficiency, vs collectivism. Not that Mike Wallace was a Progressive, or a Collectivist. I’m not sure what his politics was, but that’s the role he was playing in this interview as the Devils Advocate. Instead of taking a softball approach and blindly agreeing with everything that Ayn said, but questioning her philosophy. Not a better interviewer to select from than Mike Wallace to select to give Ayn Rand her first national TV interview. Someone who could interview anyone across the media spectrum, including someone like Ayn Rand.