By Amy Ryan
March 15, 2006 at 07:56 PM EST

Will the last CBS News veteran to leave the building please shut out the light? Dan Rather, 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt, and now Mike Wallace (pictured). Like the others, the 87-year-old Wallace used to say he’d have to be taken off the news set in a box, but that ticking stopwatch has finally caught up with him. (You can read his surprisingly genial retirement announcement, along with CBS’ responses, at TV Barn.)

This is one of those moments that can rightly be called the end of an era, not just because Wallace was the top bulldog at 60 Minutes since the program launched 38 years ago, but also because no one on TV does his kind of investigative journalism anymore. The ”gotcha” interviewing style he’s famous for exists now only on the cable news pundit shows, where it’s more about scoring rhetorical and political points than uncovering truth or exposing wrongdoing and hypocrisy.

Otherwise, TV journalists are unfailingly nice to their subjects, lest they lose access. It’s said that network TV news skews too old, but the prospect of Wallace being replaced, at least part-time, by Katie Couric, hardly sounds like an improvement.

addCredit(“Mike Wallace: John Heller/WireImage.com”)

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