Ayn Rand’s television interview with Mike Wallace has now generated over one million views on the Ayn Rand Institute’s YouTube channel. To commemorate this milestone, ARI will host a live stream event on Wednesday, June 14, at 2 PM Eastern time. Viewers will have a chance to participate in a celebratory watch-and-listen party featuring commentary from Tom Bowden and Brandon Lisi. Based on research in the Ayn Rand Archives, the discussion will cover the historical background of Rand’s first television appearance and how Mike Wallace gave Rand media visibility following the publication of Atlas Shrugged in 1957.
Wallace, known today as a pioneer of hard-hitting TV interviews, was starting to develop a reputation for asking difficult questions and hosting controversial guests when he interviewed Rand in 1959. Journalist Steve Croft described the show’s production style as “dramatic,” featuring “tight close-ups . . . almost like a police investigation.”
In less than thirty minutes, Wallace and Rand covered a range of subjects, from politics to the morality of selfishness to romantic love. At times, Wallace interjected and confronted Rand with difficult questions. Rand answered every question directly and concisely.
At one point, the camera slowly zooms in on Rand as Wallace quotes a selection of her critics: “Let me start by quoting from a review of this novel Atlas Shrugged that appeared in Newsweek. It said that ‘you are out to destroy almost every edifice in the contemporary American way of life: our Judeo-Christian religion, our modified government-regulated capitalism, our rule by the majority will.’ Other reviews have said that ‘you scorn churches and the concept of God.’ Are these accurate criticisms?” To which Rand confidently replied: “Yes. I agree with the facts but not the estimate of these criticisms. Namely, if I am challenging the base of all of these institutions, I’m challenging the moral code of altruism: the precept that man’s moral duty is to live for others — that man must sacrifice himself to others.”
In 2020, the Ayn Rand Institute republished the footage of this remarkable interview on YouTube with permission from the copyright holder, bringing the full interview to an online audience. Now that viewership has passed 1.2 million views, we hope you’ll join us in celebration and come away with a new appreciation for the interview itself. Sign up here!