Friday, July 11, 2008

Mike Wallace and Margaret Sanger

Long before CBS launched its signature 60 Minutes news magazine, Mike Wallace had his own interview program sponsored by tobacco giant, Philip Morris. Every program began with a soliloquy of praise for smoking. In fact, Wallace's signature sign-on was "My name is Mike Wallace; the cigarette is Philip Morris." Then, he would proceed to one of his hard-hitting interviews.

On September 21, 1957, he interviewed the aged but still controversial Planned Parenthood founder, Margaret Sanger. Having uncovered the archive of that half century-old film clip David and Tim Bayly provide an excellent summary of Sanger's moral obfuscation in a recent entry on their Bayly Blog. Or, for the video and complete transcript her shockingly muddled depravity, you can visit the Ransom Center Collection at the University of Texas.

It is fascinating to consider, as the Bayly Blog does, that smoking is now virtually banned but abortion is legal; the former is universally derided as an obvious vice while the latter is heralded as an obvious virtue. How much more latitudinarian could our sensate culture possibly be? Thanks, Mrs. Sanger.