NPR reports the death of broadcast journalist Daniel Schorr Friday (7/23) at age 93. Prior to his 25 years as Senior News Analyst for NPR he had spent 24 years at CBS News, with a six-year stint at CNN in between.
Even before joining CBS in 1953 as one of “Murrow’s Boys” Schorr had been a freelancer in post-war Europe since 1946. In later years, he prided himself on being the last of the Murrow team to be alive and active in journalism.
As a political reporter in Washington, DC Schorr excelled at breaking big stories – and also for creating trouble for his network with powerful. He found himself included on the “Enemies List” of President Richard Nixon, but also won back-to-back Emmy Awards in 1972, ’73 and ’74 for his Watergate reporting. He was denounced by CIA Director Richard Helms for reporting that the agency had carried out illegal assassinations, but was vindicated by the 1976 report of the Pike Committee. That government report was a secret, but Schorr obtained a copy and leaked it to the Village Voice. That nearly got him jailed for contempt of Congress. CBS took him off the air and Schorr resigned from the network in 1977.
Fledgling CNN hired him in 1979, but didn’t renew his contract in 1985. Since then, Schorr became a regular commentator for NPR, having already done occasional commentaries for the radio pubcaster for several years. He remained officially part of the NPR staff until his death Friday morning.
“What other person was personally acquainted with both Richard Nixon and Frank Zappa? Dan was around for both the Russian Revolution and the Digital Revolution. Nobody else in broadcast journalism – or perhaps any field – had as much experience and wisdom,” said Scott Simon, who hosts NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” where Schorr’s commentaries had aired for decades.
An interview with Schorr about his own life appears with his obituary on the NPR website.