Transcript: 'FNS' Host Chris Wallace Interviews His Famous Dad

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The following is a transcript from "FOX News Sunday" that aired on Nov. 6, 2005.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: Some time this summer, I came up with the idea of interviewing my father, Mike Wallace. I would talk to him about his career, and his life and his new book. It's called "Between You and Me."

Well, since then I have reconsidered the idea at least a dozen times, and so has he, but this week the Wallaces sat down for a formal interview.


C. WALLACE: I get e-mails from time to time saying to me you're just like your father. And they don't mean it as a compliment.


C. WALLACE: They say, "Go to CBS. Go to one of the big networks. Go to the mainstream media," as if that were a foreign land.

Do you understand why some people feel such disaffection for the mainstream media?

M. WALLACE: Oh, yes. They think we're wild-eyed commies, liberals. Yes?

C. WALLACE: That's what they think. And how do you plead?

M. WALLACE: I think it's damn foolishness.

C. WALLACE: Really?

M. WALLACE: Look, you know as well as I, 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 — you know, your fair and balanced friends at FOX — don't fully understand that. And I can't believe that this is going on. This is not like a dinner table conversation.

C. WALLACE: I understand. But all right. But you say, and you have been saying it all week, that Dan Rather (search) should have resigned when his producer and his executive producer were fired over the Bush National Guard story with the fake memos.

M. WALLACE: Right, right.


M. WALLACE: Who does the research for and with you?

C. WALLACE: I have a team.

M. WALLACE: Right. And he has a team. Now, if your team were fired because of something that happened in a broadcast that you anchored, would you not think about — look. If you get the money, you get the attention, you get the kudos, and what do they get? They're paid a lot less. They're not on the air. They work like the dickens. You're unpleasant to work for.

So you know, I simply asked Rather, in a very pleasant, civilized conversation in the bathroom — there was no shouting, as has been suggested. Come on, we're friends.

C. WALLACE: Let's talk about the story itself. Some people, the people that have questions about the mainstream media, say Rather and his team were so quick to believe the fake memos because they are so quick, as are a lot of people in the mainstream media, to believe the worst about George W. Bush.

M. WALLACE: Are you serious? You believe that somebody on purpose failed to authenticate those memos? I mean, come on.

C. WALLACE: I think...

M. WALLACE: Do you buy into the fact that the...

C. WALLACE: Now, this is feeling familiar. I think that they were quicker to believe it and, therefore, sloppier about checking it out than they would have been about John Kerry (search).

M. WALLACE: I don't believe that for a moment.

C. WALLACE: All right. Let's talk about the book.


C. WALLACE: Because what's amazing is all the people you have interviewed over the years. In the case of the Middle East, everyone from Menachem Begin (search) to Anwar Sadat (search), from the Shah of Iran (search) to the Ayatollah Khomeini (search).

M. WALLACE: Correct.

C. WALLACE: I want to show you clips from two of those interviews. Watch here.



M. WALLACE: Do you — forgive me — see no similarity of purpose between the Menachem Begin of 30 years ago and the Yasser Arafat of today?

BEGIN: And who?



M. WALLACE: He calls you, Imam — forgive me, his words, not mine — a lunatic.


C. WALLACE: Now, when you say "forgive me" to a Middle East leader...


C. WALLACE: ... does that mean you're about to drop the hammer?

M. WALLACE: Frequently, frequently, that's exactly right. But I've got to tell you, Menachem Begin, when I compared him — do you not see the difference between or the similarity between him and Yasser Arafat — I thought he was going to hit me. I mean, really. We got his attention.

C. WALLACE: Someone once said about you that Mike Wallace has an underdeveloped sense of other people's privacy. And as your son, I'm here to testify it's absolutely true.

M. WALLACE: Really?

C. WALLACE: Yes. I want to...

M. WALLACE: What have I revealed about you that upset you?

C. WALLACE: No, but I want to show you something, a few clips from interviews that you have done with celebrities over the years.


C. WALLACE: Take a look.


M. WALLACE: Do you really believe in extraterrestrials? Have they come visit you on the porch? 'Now you're being unpleasant,' Wallace, is what you're saying.

MACLAINE: Yes, this is what I was a little afraid of. You don't have to be that unpleasant. It doesn't become you.



CARSON: I stopped doing jokes immediately as soon as people found out he was an alcoholic.

M. WALLACE: Of course, it takes one to know one.

CARSON: True. You're cruel.


C. WALLACE: Why do you do that?

M. WALLACE: Why do I do what?

C. WALLACE: Why do you sit there and say takes one to know one?

M. WALLACE: Well, he's a drunk.

C. WALLACE: Or why do you say to Barbra Streisand on national television you know what your mother says, you don't have time for anyone?

M. WALLACE: These are interesting questions. Why are you asking? Because they're interesting questions. And what you do is — or what I have succeeded in doing over a period of time is to get the attention of the person that I'm interviewing. I'm about to interview you, as a matter of fact. Look, I've always...

C. WALLACE: Do you never say to yourself I'm going to embarrass him, I'm going to hurt his feelings?

M. WALLACE: No, no. I don't have subpoena powers. They know who I am when they come on. They know the kind of questions that I ask to all my — actually, I didn't start really asking questions until I was 38 years old. And I have to do certain things. I remember before you — we lost your brother, I used to, you know, do all kinds of...

C. WALLACE: Commercials, cigarette commercials.

M. WALLACE: That's correct.

C. WALLACE: Sent me to college.

M. WALLACE: That's correct. And I used to say I've got to raise the kids, therefore, I'll do whatever I have to do. And after we lost Peter, I said I can't hide behind that anymore, and what I'm going to do is — in the memory of your brother, your older brother, Peter, I'm going to do something that I am proud of doing and that he would be proud to have me do.

C. WALLACE: As you look over the whole career, all the places you've gone, all the people you've met, what do you make of it? I mean, what do you make of Myron Leon Wallace from Brookline, Massachusetts...


C. WALLACE: ... having (text dropped), Dad, in the book — and I didn't realize you'd ever asked it, but that you asked Thomas Hart Benton, the great artist, in 1973, and you asked him, and I'm asking you, do you hate getting old?

M. WALLACE: Well, I tell you what. I had my hearing aids fixed today so that I could probably hear you.


M. WALLACE: I can't see as well. I used to be able to play tennis. I now have — this has stopped me from smoking — a pacemaker, have it for about the last 15 years. Yes, I don't like getting old.

C. WALLACE: And you don't retire because...

M. WALLACE: Because I love — it is not work, what I do. I love what I do. When I get up in the morning and I think I am going to have the opportunity to — I wasn't that happy about waking up this morning.

C. WALLACE: Yes, I felt the same way. All right. Finally, you have been shamelessly pitching this week that you would like to do an interview...

M. WALLACE: With...

C. WALLACE: ... President Bush.


C. WALLACE: Well, I have another idea for a target for your next interview. And the question is, what would you like to ask this fellow?


C. WALLACE: It's October 30th. William's three-week birthday.


C. WALLACE: Grandson. What would you like to ask him?

M. WALLACE: He's a good looking kid, isn't he?

C. WALLACE: Yes. He takes after his mother.

M. WALLACE: That's right, he does.

C. WALLACE: Look at this guy. You've never seen this tape.

M. WALLACE: No, I have never seen this tape. I have the still. He moves around. That's a nice surprise. Bless you.

C. WALLACE: Well, it's a great book. It is a great life. I couldn't be prouder of both. And I love you.

M. WALLACE: I love you. And I'm proud of you.


C. WALLACE: After that, I had to remind myself there's no crying in Sunday morning talk shows.