Daniel Schorr, 1916-2010

Schorr (left) and Simon

NPR commentator Daniel Schorr has died at the age of 93. A legendary reporter who was on Richard Nixon’s enemies list, lost his job at CBS News after he leaked classified information and then reinvented himself at an age when most people would have been content to retire, Schorr was among the last living journalists to have covered the post-World War II reconstruction of Europe.

Schorr’s days as a working reporter were over before I had started paying attention to the news, but I enjoyed his sharp, intelligent commentaries on NPR. At one time he sounded so weak that I wondered how much longer he could continue. But despite his age, seemed to recover his strength during the past couple of years.

He was on the air as recently as July 10, talking with “Weekend Edition” host Scott Simon about the U.S.-Russian spy swap and President Obama’s visit with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Here’s what Schorr said about the delicate state of U.S.-Israeli relations:

Neither can afford to be very long on bad terms with the other because of their domestic constituencies. And so, they have problems. And I’m sure the problems in private are discussed at much greater length than they do in public. But in the end, it’s likely they’ll come back together again, because they are condemned to be good friends.

Schorr may well have been the last journalist alive who had been recruited to CBS News by the legendary Edward R. Murrow. His death marks not just the passing of a fine reporter, but of a piece of history as well.

5 thoughts on “Daniel Schorr, 1916-2010

  1. Dan Storms

    I started really paying attention to Mr. Schorr when he made the Prince of Darkness’s enemies list (sorry, that’s how Nixon was regarded in my household–little did we know how truly terrible a president could be). He became a hero to me when he got the Pike Report published, because at the time I thought there could be no higher patriotism than exposing acts that were not only unconstitutional and downright evil but that also violated the moral spirit that was supposed to be our national foundation. These days, black ops, spying on your own citizens, premptively assassinating people without even a nod. to due process are all considered normal, even normative for a nation locked in perpetual war. I looked forward every week to Schorr’s appearances on Weekend Edition as a voice of sanity from a true believer in truth, justice, and the American way. He will be missed.

  2. Steve Stein

    Oh, I am going to miss him and his wonderful commentaries. He was so productive for such a long time!

  3. Randolph T. Holhut

    Actually, there are at least two members of the Murrow Boys still with us.

    Richard C. Hottelet, a United Press alum who was hired by Murrow in 1944, broadcast the first eyewitness account of the seaborne invasion of Normandy on D-Day, and reported in the European Theater through V-E Day.

    Hottelet also had the longest career of the Murrow boys, he remained with CBS News for 41 years. He is the last of the original World War II era “Murrow Boys.”

    The last of the second generation of Murrow Boys — those hired after the war, including Daniel Schorr — is the man who I had the pleasure of having as my academic advisor when I was at the Kennedy School of Government in 1996-97 — Marvin Kalb. He was the last correspondent personally hired at CBS News by Murrow in the mid-1950s.

  4. Rob Bertsche

    Daniel Schorr was a reporter’s reporter, one who lived his belief that the reporter and those in power were not meant to have anything but an adversarial relationship. At age 93, he was still speaking truth to power. I prized his Weekend Edition commentaries that were beacons of good sense in the midst of so much news-babble. End of an era, indeed.

  5. Steve Stein

    There was a great hour-long Daniel Schorr tribute on NPR this morning (including Dan singing with Frank Zappa and the Mothers). There’s a rememberance page at NPR.org as well. It was really sad not hearing him in his regular spot with Scott Simon.

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