Daniel Schorr, 1916-2010

Daniel Schorr, the legendary CBS newsman who reinvented himself as an analyst and commentator for CNN and NPR, died this morning in a Washington hospital.

The New York Times has a detailed obituary, and NPR, his primary journalistic home for the last two decade, has a remembrance from Scott Simon, who usually discussed the week’s events with Schorr on Weekend Edition, and an obit with a slide show covering his rich career.

One oft highlighted element in that rich career was the time Schorr learned that J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI was ordered by Nixon’s White House to work up a background investigation on him after he’d criticized a speech by the President. When it came to light, the White House falsely claimed that Schorr had been under consideration for an executive branch appointment. The ham handed cover up was exposed by The Washington Post, and the episode was listed in the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment resolution cataloging Nixon’s abuse of powers.

Month’s after Nixon’s impeachment, Schorr obtained documents related to the investigation and wrote about the experience and his findings for CJR. An excerpt:

[M]y mini-Watergate conformed to the patter of the larger Watergate conspiracy—the plot, the goof, the cover-up… [Mr. Nixon] made me part of the story instead of simply the observer. He forced me to submit to a thousand jokes about whether my FBI “shadow” was still with me, and whether it as safe to talk to me on the telephone. He made me worry about whether I was still perceived by the public as and objective reporter, and whether I might be a source of embarrassment to my own news organization in its conflicts with the government.

You can download a .pdf of Schorr’s 1974 CJR article here, which is well worth reading today.

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Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.