Colleagues Reflect On Schorr's Distinguished Career
AUDIE CORNISH, host:
Now we'll turn to NPR's Tamara Keith, who spoke to several of Daniel Schorr's friends and colleagues after his death yesterday, at the age of 93.
TAMARA KEITH: Dan Schorr made a name for himself as a foreign correspondent for CBS News. He was the first person to secure a television interview with the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1957. And then in the 1960s and '70s, he reported from Washington.
CBS's Bob Schieffer was a junior reporter in the bureau at the time.
Mr. BOB SCHIEFFER (Journalist; Moderator, "Face the Nation"): I've never known anybody more enthusiastic about getting stories and getting on television. And he never stopped. He loved to tweak people in positions of power.
KEITH: That tweaking extended from Schorr's editors, right up to the president of the United States. Richard Nixon claimed he didn't watch television, so Schieffer says Dan Schorr checked.
Mr. SCHIEFFER: You know what Dan Schorr did? He just called up his son-in-law David Eisenhower and said, does he watch television? He said, well, yeah, he watches it all the time.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. SCHIEFFER: And so Dan reported that.
KEITH: He also reported on Watergate. His relentless reporting helped earn a spot on Nixon's enemies list. Schieffer says that was something Schorr relished.
Mr. SCHIEFFER: I wouldn't be surprised that when they opened Dan's will that he'll see - he'll ask that that be put on his tombstone.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. SCHIEFFER: I think he - that was a matter of pride for Dan Schorr. I think he would've had his feelings hurt if Nixon hadn't put him on the enemies list, quite frankly.
KEITH: Dan Rather also worked in the CBS Washington bureau with Schorr. At the time, CBS dominated broadcast news.
Mr. DAN RATHER (Journalist): It was, in many ways, a throwback to another era in which reporters, including those in radio and television, wore out shoe leather, knocked on doors, made a lot of telephone calls.
KEITH: Schorr's career at CBS ended in controversy. But a few years later, he became the first broadcaster hired by a new, 24-hour, cable news network, CNN.
Reese Schonfeld founded the network along with Ted Turner, and he hired Schorr.
Mr. REESE SCHONFELD (Co-Founder, Cable News Network): His voice on the air was - it was not quite the voice of God, but maybe the voice of a demigod. He never had to say, this is Dan Schorr. They knew who he was when he started talking.
KEITH: And Schonfeld says Schorr brought instant credibility to CNN.
Mr. SCHONFELD: Once I hired Dan, I was able to get all sorts of other people because they knew we were all right.
KEITH: Schorr stayed six years at CNN, and left after clashing with Ted Turner. Schorr then settled in for his third and final act, at NPR.
Lou Cannon is a presidential historian who reported at the Washington Post for years. He says Schorr reminds him of that quote about journalists: Their job is to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.
Mr. LOU CANNON (Journalist; Presidential Historian): I guess, in fairness, you'd probably say he did more of afflicting the comfortable. But I wish we had more people like him.
KEITH: Tamara Keith, NPR News, Washington.
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