Chris Wallace Receives Taishoff Award From NPF
Salutes father, Mike Wallace; stepfather, Bill Leonard; and Roger Ailes
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/7/2012 11:21:46 PM
Wallace was the recipient of the National Press Foundation's Sol Taishoff Award for Broadcast Journalism, given out at NPF's annual awards dinner in Washington Wednesday night. Taishoff, founder of Broadcasting & Cable magazine, was an old friend of Wallace's stepfather, the late CBS newsman Bill Leonard. He said that made the award that much more special. "It means a great deal to me to receive an award especially in [Taishoff's] name."
Wallace said that Leonard, Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, and Wallace's father, Mike Wallace, were the three key figures in his development as a journalist. He gave his stepfather props for pioneering election coverage and helping come up with 60 Minutes and CBS Sunday Morning. But he said the most memorable broadcasts were the pretend ones he and his stepfather did on family trips whenever the Oldsmobile reached an odometric milestone -- 10,000 miles, 25,000 miles.
"We would do a CBS News special report, throwing it to Chris to talk about what the car's success meant to the U.S. auto industry or interviewing the assembly line worker who had put together the car. Yes, the specials were overproduced and they always came in over budget, but I thought they were just great."
Wallace had unalloyed praise for his Ailes, calling him the best boss he had ever worked for. Wallace's resume includes long stints at ABC News and NBC News. "This is a man who created an enormously influential source of information for the American people out of nothing." Whether you like it or not, he told the audience, in 15 years Fox has gone from zero to "a central part of the national conversation."
Wallace turned serious as he talked about his father, CBS newsman Mike Wallace. "I spent so much of my early life trying to get out from under his shadow," he said. "Now as my father nears his 94th birthday and is slipping away, I don't want you to forget him. He was vibrant, and funny, and demanding, and a great reporter."
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