Aggressive reporting put Daniel Schorr on a presidential enemies list, got him investigated by Congress and cost him jobs with CBS and CNN, but his insightful analysis captured audiences for six decades. Schorr, who died on July 23 at 93, was recruited into news broadcasting by Edward R. Murrow. He entered the profession as veteran radio reporters were resisting the switch to television, which they dismissed as little more than putting pictures to headlines. Their reluctance opened the way for Schorr's generation of television newscasters.
CBS sent him to Moscow in 1955 and then to Washington in 1966. Rising through the ranks at CBS News' Washington bureau, Schorr jockeyed for airtime within a squad of talented correspondents. Finding the regular beats at the White House and Capitol already covered, Schorr claimed his own territory by covering Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs. During Richard Nixon's presidency, Schorr won Emmys for his reporting on the Watergate scandal.
At the peak of his television career, Schorr obtained and passed along a leaked copy of the Pike report on illegal activities by the CIA and FBI. He refused to divulge his source to congressional investigators, and while he managed to avoid a contempt citation, the incident ended his employment at CBS. Schorr's pull-no-punches approach to the news also shortened his stint as an analyst for Ted Turner's CNN in the '80s. But Schorr found his true niche on National Public Radio, where for the rest of his life, he served listeners with a voice, wit and depth of experience that remain unmatched.
Ritchie, historian of the Senate, is the author of Reporting from Washington: The History of the Washington Press Corps