Mike Wallace's legendary career in journalism is being remembered this week, following the death of the "60 Minutes" icon on Saturday at 93. One video currently making the rounds online is "The Homosexuals," Wallace's controversial 1967 report that aired on CBS.
The hour-long program—which predated "60 Minutes" and was anchored by Wallace on "CBS Reports"—took on the then-taboo topic of homosexuality in America.
"The average homosexual, if there be such, is promiscuous," Wallace said in the piece. "He is not interested or capable of a lasting relationship like that of a heterosexual marriage. His sex life, his love life, consists of a series of one-chance encounters at the clubs and bars he inhabits. And even on the streets of the city—the pick-up, the one night stand, these are characteristics of the homosexual relationship."
The report is "now impossible to watch without cringing," The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf wrote.
Wikipedia has a pretty good backstory on the episode, one which Wallace later regretted.
"I should have known better," he said in 1992.
Wallace also lamented that the report relied, in part, on Charles Socarides, a psychiatrist who felt homosexuality was a mental illness. "That is—God help us—what our understanding was of the homosexual lifestyle a mere 25 years ago," Wallace said in a 1996 interview. "Because nobody was out of the closet and because that's what we heard from doctors, that's what Socarides told us—it was a matter of shame."
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