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Daniel Schorr, veteran journalist and commentator, dies at 93

WASHINGTON — Daniel Schorr, 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 (July 23, 2010). He was 93.

Mr. Schorr died at Georgetown University Hospital after a brief illness.

His path through the news business began in print, then led to almost three decades in TV with CBS News, where he won three Emmy Awards for his coverage of the Watergate scandal; and the fledgling cable network CNN.

By the time of his death, he was known as a longtime senior news analyst and liberal commentator on NPR. He also wrote several books, including his memoir, Staying Tuned: A Life in Journalism.

Mr. 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 television interview with a Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, in 1957.

During the Nixon years, Mr. Schorr not only covered the news as CBS's chief Watergate correspondent, but he also became part of the story. Hoping to beat the competition, 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 name.

His reporting so angered Nixon that he ordered an FBI investigation of the reporter, on the pretext that he was being considered for a top federal job.

Mr. Schorr became part of the story again in 1976, when he arranged for the publication of a copy of a suppressed House Intelligence Committee report on illegal CIA and FBI findings. To his surprise, reaction from his media colleagues was negative, because he had handed the report over in exchange for a donation to a group that aids journalists in First Amendment issues.

Many reporters also found his silence troubling when another CBS correspondent, Lesley Stahl, was wrongly accused of leaking the report. Mr. Schorr was suspended by the network and the House opened an investigation, though it later dropped the case. He resigned from CBS soon after.

Well into his 90s, he was still giving commentaries on NPR. He was last heard on the airwaves July 10, on NPR's Weekend Edition with Scott Simon.

Mr. Schorr first caught the eye of famed CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow during his vivid reports on devastating flooding in the Netherlands in 1953. Murrow persuaded him to join the network, based in Washington.

After CBS, Mr. 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 correspondent in Washington. Soon after leaving the cable channel in 1985 over differences with Turner, he found a home at NPR as a senior news analyst.

Daniel Schorr, veteran journalist and commentator, dies at 93 07/24/10 [Last modified: Saturday, July 24, 2010 12:03am]
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