Mike Wallace
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Quotes for
Mike Wallace (Character)
from The Insider (1999)

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The Insider (1999)
Mike Wallace: Will you tell him that when I conduct an interview, I sit anywhere I damn please!

Mike Wallace: Do me a favor, will you - spare me, for God's sake, get in the real world, what do you think? I'm going to resign in protest? To force it on the air? The answer's "no". I don't plan to spend the end of my days wandering in the wilderness of National Public Radio. That decision I've already made.

Mike Wallace: [after watching a preview of the "60 Minutes" Wigand interview that has been edited] Where's the rest? Where the hell's the rest?
[we see Don Hewitt and Helen Caperelli coming out of a room to see Mike shouting at Kluster in disbelief]
Mike Wallace: [to Eric Kluster] You cut it! You cut the guts out of what I said!
Eric Kluster: It was a time consideration, Mike.
Mike Wallace: Time? BULLSHIT! You corporate LACKEY! Who told you your incompetent little fingers had the requisite skills to edit me! I'm trying to band-aid a situation here, and you're too dim to...
[Mike is suddenly interrupted by Helen Caperelli, who walks up to him and Kluster]
Helen Caperelli: Mike... Mike... Mike...
Mike Wallace: [to Helen Caperelli] Mike? "Mike." Try "Mr. Wallace". We work in the same corporation doesn't mean we work in the same profession. What are you going to do now? You're gonna finesse me, lawyer me some more? I've been in this profession 50 FUCKING YEARS! You, and the people you work for, are destroying the most-respected, the highest-rated, the most-profitable show on this network!

Mike Wallace: You cut it! You cut the guts out of what I said!
Eric Kluster: It was a time consideration, Mike...
Mike Wallace: Time? Bullshit! You corporate lackey! Who told you your incompetent little fingers had the requisite skills to edit me?

Mike Wallace: Who are these people?
Lowell Bergman: Ordinary people under extraordinary pressure, Mike. What the hell do you expect? Grace and consistency?

Mike Wallace: No that's fame. Fame has a fifteen minute half-life, infamy lasts a little longer.

Mike Wallace: In the real world, when you get to where I am, there are other considerations.
Lowell Bergman: Like what? Corporate responsibility? What, are we talking celebrity here?
Mike Wallace: I'm not talking celebrity, vanity, CBS. I'm talking about when you're nearer the end of your life than the beginning. Now, what do you think you think about then? The future? In the future I'm going to do this? Become that? What future? No. What you think is "How will I be regarded in the end?" After I'm gone. Now, along the way I suppose I made some minor impact. I did Iran-Gate and the Ayatollah, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Saddam, Sadat, etcetera, etcetera. I showed them thieves in suits. I've spent a lifetime building all that. But history only remembers most what you did last. And should that be fronting a segment that allowed a tobacco giant to crash this network? Does it give someone at my time of life pause? Yeah.

Lowell Bergman: This news division has been *villified* by the New York Times! In print, on television, for *caving* to corporate interests!
Don Hewitt: New York Times ran a blow by blow of what we talked about behind closed doors! You fucked us!
Lowell Bergman: No, you fucked you! Don't invert stuff! Big Tobacco tried to smear Wigand, you bought it. The Wall Street Journal, here: not exactly a bastion of anti-capitalist sentiment, refutes Big Tobacco's smear campaign as the lowest form of character assassination! And now, even now, when every word of what Wigand has said on our show is printed, the entire deposition of his testimony in a court of law in the State of Mississippi, the cat *totally* out of the bag, you're still standing here debating! Don, what the hell else do you need?
Don Hewitt: Mike, you tell him.
Mike Wallace: You fucked up, Don.

Mike Wallace: And do you wish you hadn't come forward? Do you wish you hadn't blown the whistle?
Jeffrey Wigand: There are times when I wish I hadn't done it. There are times when I feel com... compelled to do it. If you asked me, would I do it again, do I think it's worth it? Yeah I think its worth it.

Mike Wallace: And that's what cigarettes are for?
Jeffrey Wigand: A delivery device for nicotine.
Mike Wallace: A delivery device for nicotine. Put it in your mouth, lit it up and you're gonna get your fix?
Jeffrey Wigand: You're gonna get your fix.

Mike Wallace: Am I missing something?
John Harris: What do you mean, Mike?
Mike Wallace: I mean, he's got a corporate secrecy agreement - give me a break! I mean, this is a public health issue! Like an unsafe airframe on a passenger jet or some company dumping cyanide into the East River, issues like that! He can talk, we can air it! They've got no right to hide behind a "corporate agreement"! Pass the milk.

Lowell Bergman: What does this guy have to say that threatens these people?
Mike Wallace: Well, it isn't that cigarrettes are bad for you.
Lowell Bergman: Hardly new news.
Mike Wallace: No shit.

Lowell Bergman: We've got a guy who wants to talk, but he's constrained. What if he were compelled?
Mike Wallace: Oh, torture. Great ratings.

Mike Wallace: Did I get you up?
Lowell Bergman: No, I usually sit around my hotel room dressed like this at 5:30 in the morning, sleepy look on my face.

Lowell Bergman: In all that time, Mike, did you ever get out a plane, walk into a room and find that a source for a story changed his mind? Lost his heart? Walked out on us? Not one fucking time. You want to know why?
Mike Wallace: I see a rhetorical question on the horizon.
Lowell Bergman: I'm gonna tell you why: because when I tell someone I'm gonna do something, I deliver.

Mike Wallace: You heard Mr. Sandefur say before Congress that he believed nicotine was not addictive.
Jeffrey Wigand: I believe Mr. Sandefur perjured himself because I watched those testimonies very carefully.
Mike Wallace: All of us did, and it was this whole line of people, whole line of CEOs up there, all swearing.
Jeffrey Wigand: Part of the reason I'm here is that I felt that their representations clearly misstated - at least within Brown and Williamson's representation - clearly misstated what is common language within the company: "We are in the nicotine delivery business."
Mike Wallace: And that's what cigarettes are for.
Jeffrey Wigand: A delivery device for nicotine.
Mike Wallace: A delivery device for nicotine. Put it in your mouth, light it up, and you're gonna get your fix.
Jeffrey Wigand: You're gonna get your fix.
Mike Wallace: You're saying that Brown and Williamson manipulates and adjusts the nicotine fix not by artificially adding nicotine but by enhancing the effect of nicotine through the use of elements such as ammonia?
Jeffrey Wigand: The process is known as "impact boosting". While not spiking nicotine, they clearly manipulate it. There was extensive use of this technology known as "ammonia chemistry". It allows for the nicotine to be more rapidly absorbed in the lung and therefore affect the brain and central nervous system. The straw that broke the camel's back for me, and really put me in trouble with Sandefur, was a compound called coumarin. When I came on board at B. and W., they had tried the transition from coumarin to a similar flavor that would give the same taste, and had been unsuccessful. I wanted out immediately. I was told that it could affect sales, so I should mind my own business. I constructed a memo to Mr. Sandefur indicating I could not in conscience continue with coumarin, a product we now know and we had documentation was similar to coumadin, a lung-specific carcinogen.
Mike Wallace: And you sent the documents to Sandefur?
Jeffrey Wigand: I sent the documents forward to Sandefur. I was told that we would continue to work on a substitute but we weren't going to remove it as it would impact sales, and that was his decision.
Mike Wallace: In other words, you were charging Sandefur and Brown and Williamson with ignoring health considerations consciously?
Jeffrey Wigand: Most certainly.
Mike Wallace: And on March 24th, Thomas Sandefur, CEO of Brown and Williamson, had you fired. And the reason he gave you?
Jeffrey Wigand: "Poor communication skills."
Mike Wallace: And you wish you hadn't come forward? You wish you hadn't blown the whistle?
Jeffrey Wigand: Yeah, at times I wish I hadn't done it. There were times I felt compelled to do it. If you ask me would I do it again, do I think it's worth it? Yeah, I think it's worth it.

Mike Wallace: Sheikh Fadlallah. Thank you so much for seeing us. Are you a terrorist?
Sheikh Fadlallah: Mr. Wallace, I am a servant of God.
Mike Wallace: A servant of God? Really? Americans believe that you, as an Islamic fundamentalist, that you are a leader who contributed to the bombing of the US Embassy...

Mike Wallace: [to Hezbollah Head Gunman] What the hell do you think I am? A 78 year-old assassin? You think I'm gonna karate him to death with this notepad?