Longtime broadcast correspondent and analyst Daniel Schorr dies at 93
WASHINGTON — Daniel Schorr, 93, whose journalism career over more than six decades landed him in the dark corners of Europe during the Cold War and the shadows of President Richard Nixon’s notorious “enemies list” in the 1970s, died Friday in Washington after a brief illness.
Schorr’s path through the news business began in print and then led to almost three decades in television with CBS News and the fledgling cable network CNN before he became the elder statesman of public radio.
His last broadcast as a senior news analyst and commentator on National Public Radio aired July 10.
Bill Moyers, who like Schorr had stints at CBS News and in public broadcasting, said that Schorr was a model of integrity.
“At NPR, he exemplified the very best of public broadcasting by refusing to be intimidated by either offi- cial funders or partisan thugs who besieged the brass in protest of his honest reporting,” Moyers wrote Friday in an e-mail. “With razor-sharp wit, personal courage, and love of our craft, he distinguished himself and journalism.”
Schorr reported from Moscow, Havana, Bonn, Germany and many other cities as a foreign correspondent. While at CBS, he brought Americans the first-ever exclusive TV interview with a Soviet leader, Nikita Khrush- chev, in 1957.
During the Nixon years, Schorr not only covered the news as CBS’ chief Watergate correspondent, but he also became part of the story. He rushed to the air with Nixon’s famous “enemies list” and began reading the list of 20 to viewers before previewing it. As he got to No. 17, he discovered his own name on the list.
Schorr became part of the story again in 1976, when he arranged for the publication of an advance copy of a suppressed House Intelligence Committee report on illegal CIA and FBI findings.
At the time, Schorr called it “an inescapable decision of journalistic conscience” to see that the report ended up in print. To his surprise, reaction from his own colleagues in the media was negative, because Schorr had handed the report over in exchange for a donation to a group that aids journalists in First Amendment issues.
Many reporters also found Schorr’s silence troubling when another CBS correspondent, Lesley Stahl, was wrongly accused of leaking the report. Schorr was suspended by the network and the House opened an investigation, though it later dropped the case. He resigned from CBS soon after.
After CBS, Schorr taught journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, and then, in 1979, he joined Ted Turner’s newly created CNN as its senior Washington correspondent.
Soon after leaving CNN in 1985 over differences with Turner, Schorr found a home at NPR as a senior news analyst. He contributed regularly to “All Things Considered” and other programs.
He received three Emmy Awards, among other honors that include a Peabody in 1992 for “a lifetime of uncompromising reporting of the highest integrity.” He was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Society of Professional Journalists in 1991.
Daniel Schorr’s career included testifying to the House Ethics Committee in 1976, left, before he went on to a long stint as an NPR commentator, above.