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A "Living History Book"
July 23, 2010 10:23 AM   Subscribe

Daniel Schorr is dead at 93. Schorr began a career in journalism which spanned more than six decades at 12 years old, when he wrote a story for the Bronx Home News about a suicide. A woman had jumped from the roof of his building, he phoned the police and then wrote and article about the event, for which he was paid $5. After serving in military intelligence during World War II, he worked as a foreign correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times before joining CBS in 1953 as one of the legendary "Murrow Boys".

Schorr was probably most well known for his reporting on the Watergate scandal, which earned him three Emmy's and a spot on Nixon's "Enemies List". He later resigned from CBS while under threat of suspension and possible jail time for his reporting on the Pike Committee.

After moving on to then upstart CNN in 1979, he moved on to NPR's "Weekend Edition" and also wrote a column for the Christian Science Monitor. He was still producing stories until just a few weeks ago.
posted by rollbiz (146 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by Kinbote at 10:24 AM on July 23, 2010


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times a thousand. I loved his voice and hearing him comment on NPR. His long career gave him a fascinating perspective.

Sigh.
posted by freecellwizard at 10:25 AM on July 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


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posted by gurple at 10:25 AM on July 23, 2010


Wow.

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posted by Xoebe at 10:25 AM on July 23, 2010


I'll miss his voice on the radio.
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posted by ahdeeda at 10:26 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by longdaysjourney at 10:26 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by ursus_comiter at 10:27 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by brundlefly at 10:27 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by greekphilosophy at 10:29 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by chrchr at 10:30 AM on July 23, 2010


On the one hand he is dead. On the other he is no longer living.

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posted by munchingzombie at 10:31 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by pointystick at 10:31 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by doctor_negative at 10:31 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by lalochezia at 10:32 AM on July 23, 2010


:( Damn, damn, damn. He was a legend.

I didn't realize he was writing regularly for the Christian Science Monitor.

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posted by zarq at 10:32 AM on July 23, 2010


How will I know how to think now?
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posted by Xurando at 10:32 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by ph00dz at 10:33 AM on July 23, 2010


- 30 -
posted by Danf at 10:33 AM on July 23, 2010 [9 favorites]


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posted by Belle O'Cosity at 10:35 AM on July 23, 2010


It's like losing an uncle who's been there since before I was old enough to remember.
posted by matildaben at 10:36 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a huge loss. He was fearless and smart and very knowledgeable. I deeply respected him.

Thank you so much for all the years of telling us what was really going on, Mr. Schorr.

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posted by bearwife at 10:37 AM on July 23, 2010


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We have a (kind-hearted) running joke in our house that he always sounded like he took to the air with half a peanut-butter sandwich in his mouth. I always perked up when he broadcast a special comment, especially in his later years, because it usually meant I was about to hear some keen analysis as break from the usual NPR pablum. He will be missed.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:37 AM on July 23, 2010 [8 favorites]


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posted by killy willy at 10:38 AM on July 23, 2010


. for a great journo. Sadly a dying breed in this world.
posted by msbutah at 10:38 AM on July 23, 2010


He was sharp and incisive until the very end and I'll miss his voice. If someone needed to be given hell I could always count on Mr. Schorr to do it in a classy way.

I am batting .000 when it comes to imagining what NPR personalities look like. I was picturing someone more...jowly.
posted by Alison at 10:38 AM on July 23, 2010


I loved his voice. So sad!
posted by emjaybee at 10:39 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by dbiedny at 10:41 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by ardgedee at 10:41 AM on July 23, 2010


Oh, man. He was a great commentator. And he really stood out in recent years among the interchangeable NPR personalities.
posted by blucevalo at 10:41 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


His insights and decades of perspective often provided a deeper sense of order to news stories which I treasured. I will miss hearing him.

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posted by hippybear at 10:41 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by tresbizzare at 10:42 AM on July 23, 2010


About a half-century ago, I was delegated to pick up Dan Schorr at the airport so he could give a lecture at my college. On the way, we talked about journalism and current affairs and even some personal stuff. I was beginning to see that I had a long way to go to become very good at journalism, but if Schorr noticed my ignorance, he didn't show it. He even invited me to call and have lunch when I came to New York, as he seemed to assume I would someday. He was one of the kindest and most decent men I've ever met, and I never heard his voice on NPR without thinking I should write him a note of thanks for just being so damn nice. I wish I had.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 10:43 AM on July 23, 2010 [14 favorites]


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Old AskMe thread about his unique (and to some, uniquely annoying) voice, linked to with affection not disrespect.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 10:44 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I didn't realize he was so old (I mean, I knew he was old, but I didn't imagine him being in his 90's.)
posted by Jahaza at 10:44 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by ghharr at 10:45 AM on July 23, 2010


. with extra points for being on Nixon's enemies list.
posted by jonp72 at 10:45 AM on July 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


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posted by Thorzdad at 10:46 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by Lutoslawski at 10:47 AM on July 23, 2010


What a lucky man to be able to work at something you love into his nineties. He was the voice of history and as such was able to put things in perspective as no one else could.

I will miss him.

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posted by readery at 10:47 AM on July 23, 2010


I always enjoyed his commentary on NPR.
posted by Groovytimes at 10:49 AM on July 23, 2010


On the one hand, many of us will miss him a great deal. On the other, I suspect he'd point out that 93 is a darn good run.

So, at 93 and never having actually retired, he was apparently only a reporter for 50 of those years. Kind of puts first, second and third careers in perspective.
posted by lodurr at 10:50 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by trip and a half at 10:51 AM on July 23, 2010


I didn't realize he was that old... 93, and his last story on NPR was just three weeks ago. Looks like he very consciously chose the 'coffin retirement plan'.

He was a little tedious to listen to... his voice bugged me. But the words were always worthwhile, and he would still occasionally have exceptionally good, even brilliant insights.

He spent his life trying to make the world better. He was heard by hundreds of millions of people all over the world. He stayed at it to the age of 93, about three weeks before he died. You wouldn't immediately realize it, hearing him on the radio, but the man was a giant.
posted by Malor at 10:52 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by hortense at 10:52 AM on July 23, 2010


Always the consummate newsman: impeccably well informed, unimpressed by rhetoric, remaining objective while caring deeply about the world. And always with candor and humor. They don't make 'em like that anymore... I feel like I've just witnessed the extinction of a species.

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posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:53 AM on July 23, 2010


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Crying again. He was such a part of my learning to listen to the news. We were lucky to have him.
posted by bilabial at 10:53 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by theotheramy at 10:53 AM on July 23, 2010


Oh, sad. I heard Kee Malesky say once that Daniel Schorr was her favorite patron, and I'm pretty sure that says it all.
posted by clavicle at 10:55 AM on July 23, 2010


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He always struck me as classy, intelligent, and capable of pulling together facts and events he had squirreled away throughout his long career to make logical, reasonable, and fairly objective points about current events. I'm really going to miss his NPR segments.

And I loved his cameo in The Game. (There's a tiny voice snippet in the linked trailer.)
posted by usonian at 10:57 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by bakerina at 10:59 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by Verdant at 10:59 AM on July 23, 2010


Requiescat in pace, Daniel.

I confess I didn't always like his commentaries - to me he came across as riding on the laurels of his earlier career rather than offering much in the way of timely analysis, but DAMN he had the greatest radio voice and his brief exchanges with Scott Simon on NPR were like a comfortable and respectful conversation between father and son.
posted by elendil71 at 10:59 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by Dr. Twist at 11:00 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by alms at 11:02 AM on July 23, 2010


The WNYC obituary/retrospective is on right now.
posted by griphus at 11:02 AM on July 23, 2010


Well, dammit.

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posted by rtha at 11:03 AM on July 23, 2010


I always liked hearing Dan Schorr's perspective on current events. There is not an emoticon to express how much I'm going to miss that guy.
posted by found missing at 11:04 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by darkmatter at 11:06 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by saulgoodman at 11:08 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by Westringia F. at 11:08 AM on July 23, 2010


The world just got a little dimmer with Dan Schorr leaving while the current standard in journalism is based more on Breitbart than on thinking.

I will miss his erudite commentary.
posted by beelzbubba at 11:08 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by R. Mutt at 11:08 AM on July 23, 2010


Senior news analyst Daniel Schorr remembers the mood of the Great Depression. Includes his touching singing of "Brother can you spare a dime".
posted by found missing at 11:11 AM on July 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


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I remember when he read the Nixon enemies list live on the air and got to his own name. Wow.

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posted by Mcable at 11:13 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really enjoyed this exchange between George Clooney and Dan Schorr when Clooney was promoting "Good Night and Good Luck". Clooney was so respectful to Dan, and Dan was delighted to be in the conversation.
posted by dr. fresh at 11:14 AM on July 23, 2010 [7 favorites]


Though by no means a fan of rock music, Schorr became friends with composer Frank Zappa after the latter contacted him, asking for help with a voter-registration drive. Schorr made an appearance with Zappa on February 10, 1988, where he sang "It Ain't Necessarily So" and "Summertime". Schorr delivered the eulogy on NPR after Zappa's death on December 4, 1993; he professed not to understand Zappa's lengthy discourses on music theory, but he found a kindred spirit—a serious man with a commitment to free speech.
posted by anazgnos at 11:15 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by Joe Beese at 11:16 AM on July 23, 2010


found missing:

I remember hearing that while visiting my sister in Oakland. We were driving through a rough-ish patch of town, and the whole situation just moved me to tears.

Tough loss, condolences to his family.
posted by rocketman at 11:17 AM on July 23, 2010


Damn.

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posted by jadepearl at 11:18 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by cerebus19 at 11:21 AM on July 23, 2010


. Darn. I've been listening to him forever and it seems like he's been old forever, kind of forgot that he was mortal.
posted by octothorpe at 11:22 AM on July 23, 2010


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May we all live to 93 doing what we love and making the world a better place.
posted by hot_monster at 11:24 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


He was just on the radio last week. He worked up to the end. Def. one of my favorites.

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posted by Duffington at 11:27 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by sonascope at 11:31 AM on July 23, 2010


I will miss that voice.
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posted by HumanComplex at 11:32 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by foggy out there now at 11:39 AM on July 23, 2010


The truth that this man bore was extraordinary. We desperately need more heros such as he.
posted by ahimsakid at 11:40 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by condour75 at 11:40 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by aught at 11:42 AM on July 23, 2010


I was impressed as hell back when I found out that he was on Nixon's Enemies List. I can think of no higher sign that you were doing something right as a journo.
posted by COBRA! at 11:44 AM on July 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


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posted by Ratio at 11:45 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by Bummus at 11:49 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by mumkin at 11:51 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by cosmac at 11:53 AM on July 23, 2010


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posted by contessa at 11:54 AM on July 23, 2010


oh shit. knew that he couldn't stay around forever, but really wish he could've
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posted by angrycat at 12:05 PM on July 23, 2010


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posted by picopebbles at 12:05 PM on July 23, 2010


Oh, man. I don't usually gasp and tear up when I see obits for incredibly old people, but this one did it for me.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:07 PM on July 23, 2010


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posted by localhuman at 12:16 PM on July 23, 2010


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posted by omnidrew at 12:16 PM on July 23, 2010


Daniel Schorr was a regular on the wonderful The New Leader. The last edition was April/March issue, here. That might be his very last piece of reporting.
posted by geoff. at 12:18 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by ZeusHumms at 12:19 PM on July 23, 2010


But now who will voice Dr. Zoidberg?

Seriously though, .
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 12:30 PM on July 23, 2010


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posted by interrobang at 1:05 PM on July 23, 2010


Loved his voice (in both senses).

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posted by lisa g at 1:06 PM on July 23, 2010


I loved listening to him on Saturdays with Scott Simon when he would talk about events that happened so long ago. Not too many people can still recollect the Depression and World War II as clearly as he could. I'm also glad he was able to work so close to the end.
posted by Sukey Says at 1:08 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 1:11 PM on July 23, 2010


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posted by hydropsyche at 1:31 PM on July 23, 2010


I've always loved his work on NPR, but never knew half of what he'd done in his long career. He spoke fluent Dutch! Who knew?
posted by Hlewagast at 1:38 PM on July 23, 2010


I feel really stupid. I always dismissed Daniel Schorr because I didn't like his voice and his analysis never really grabbed me as being all that interesting.

If I'd known he was that old, and that he'd had such an illustrious career, I might've set aside my first impressions and listened more carefully and probably learned something.
posted by straight at 1:39 PM on July 23, 2010


Even at 93, a great loss. His commentary had become less pithy and more "a very old man reads you the news" lately, but occasionally the old fire was still in evidence.

It's too bad he and Frank Zappa (for whom he presented a beautiful euology on NPR) never got Night School off the ground. That would have been epic.

Finally, if it weren't for BBC World Service and Daniel Schorr on NPR, I don't know how I'd have got through the first Gulf War without my head exploding.

Thanks, Dan, for Staying Tuned.


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posted by Herodios at 1:40 PM on July 23, 2010


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I always wanted to win the "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!" prize of Daniel Schorr's voice on my home answering machine.
posted by Frank Grimes at 1:43 PM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


No!

RIP
posted by rosswald at 1:44 PM on July 23, 2010


This is the guy who sounded like he had marbles (or as someone upthread said, a peanut butter sandwich) in his mouth, yes?

For some reason I always pictured him much younger. Weird how that works.

How awesome is being on a "Enemies List" though? That's gotta be one of the best things ever for a journalist.
posted by madajb at 1:44 PM on July 23, 2010


period
posted by rosswald at 1:44 PM on July 23, 2010


There's a terrific interview he did with Bob Edwards 2 or 3 years ago that is still available from iTunes [for free] last I checked.

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posted by Rashomon at 1:51 PM on July 23, 2010


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posted by snsranch at 1:52 PM on July 23, 2010


Frank Grimes: "I always wanted to win the "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!" prize of Daniel Schorr's voice on my home answering machine."

Do you mean Carl Kasell? Or did Schorr fill in at some point?
posted by brundlefly at 1:55 PM on July 23, 2010


@Frank Grimes - that's another old guy - Carl Kasell...
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for Daniel. Man, I'll miss him.
posted by dbmcd at 1:55 PM on July 23, 2010


There are very few about whom one can say that 93 years just wasn't enough. Schorr was one.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 2:09 PM on July 23, 2010


Daniel Schorr was so old (and so awesome) that the Russians slipped him a mickey in the '50s.

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posted by purpleclover at 2:22 PM on July 23, 2010


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posted by Halloween Jack at 2:22 PM on July 23, 2010


I miss the voice.
posted by roganmedia at 2:25 PM on July 23, 2010


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posted by deCadmus at 2:39 PM on July 23, 2010


Good for him for not stopping the work. Quite an inspiration for one who fears an idle state.

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posted by rainbaby at 3:13 PM on July 23, 2010


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posted by JohnFredra at 3:15 PM on July 23, 2010


From the WaPo Obit:

In White House recordings from 1971, Nixon and Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman discuss a tax investigation of Schorr in the Oval Office.

"You take a fellow like this Dan Schorr, he's - I notice - he is always creating something, isn't he?" Nixon said.

"Oh ... He incidentally is on - you don't, shouldn't get involved in this, but he's on our tax list, too," Haldeman said.


*two* Nixon lists. Epic win.
posted by mecran01 at 3:37 PM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


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posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 3:45 PM on July 23, 2010


Back when I worked for fancy pants think-tank in D.C.; Mr. Schorr would always show up for the weekly lunch sessions. The first time I heard him speak, and realized who he was I had the biggest "is that actually, him?!" moment, more than any of the politicians or talking heads who were invited to speak at these sessions.

He always cleared his throat before he spoke, and his distinct voice always rang out to ask one and only one question. Sometimes the questions were related to thoughts that would show up in a broadcast some weeks later, other times they were simply the most reflective and probing question for the moment, always cutting to the heart of the issue. What I gained most from those moments was the fact that he took ideas and thoughts and through work honed and shaped them for his frank broadcasts in a way that only someone who spent serious time reflecting and thinking could do.

I also loved that even in a room mostly full of stodgy white men of privilege, he was always showed proper deference by everyone, and I mean everyone.
posted by stratastar at 3:58 PM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


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posted by josephtate at 4:13 PM on July 23, 2010


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posted by Wash Jones at 4:39 PM on July 23, 2010


From New York Magazine:

He was particularly good at annoying the hell out of the Nixon administration, for which he deserves every honor that will be thrown his way this weekend, and in fact got himself one of the twenty spots on Nixon's so-called enemies list, which referred to him as "a real media enemy."

That also led to one of the great moments in TV-news history. In 1974, when the list's existence was revealed during the Watergate hearings, Schorr scrambled to get a copy, and it arrived a moment before airtime. He didn't have time to read it before going on the air, but, looking to preserve his scoop, he dived in and read it on the live broadcast ... and discovered, at No. 17, his own name. As he wrote in his autobiography, "I remember that my first thought was that I must go on reading without any pause, or gasp or look of wild surmise ... I do not know how well I carried off my effort."


Even at 93, such a terrible loss. We need more heroes like Daniel Schorr.
posted by marsha56 at 4:43 PM on July 23, 2010


I loved his voice, I loved his perspective, and admired his career. I always meant to get around to writing him a letter, but never got it done. With the retirement of Carl Kasell this only leaves Frank Deford as a person I enjoy listening to (and I hate sports). I love a pleasing voice. Daniel was always comforting. This news ruined my commute home.

It seems appropriate that I found this news out from NPR.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:09 PM on July 23, 2010


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posted by jquinby at 6:19 PM on July 23, 2010


He was a personal hero of mine as a kid, up there with Woodward and Bernstein. I wanted to be a journalist just like him, with courage. It didn't work out that way, but I still admired him and appreciated his sense of historical vision and still vigorous sense of justice. He, among others, also made me realize that we need people who remember what this country was like during its darker times, so we might avoid those same mistakes. Not that we have...

I will miss him.
posted by ltracey at 6:29 PM on July 23, 2010


He didn't just keep working -- he stayed curious, too. During much of 2009, he even tried Twitter.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 6:30 PM on July 23, 2010



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posted by Wuggie Norple at 6:54 PM on July 23, 2010


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During much of 2009, he even tried Twitter.

And I was touched to see that he's in the Top Ten trending. Farewell, Mr. Schorr.
posted by stennieville at 6:58 PM on July 23, 2010


I am heartbroken. Mr Schorr changed the way I looked at American politics in many ways.

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posted by pianoboy at 7:13 PM on July 23, 2010


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posted by Snyder at 8:37 PM on July 23, 2010


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posted by pdxjmorris at 9:17 PM on July 23, 2010


Bummer.

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posted by schyler523 at 9:38 PM on July 23, 2010


I liked his voice. For some reason, I always thought of him as Snuffleupagus (even though he didn't sound like the Sesame Street character at all).

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posted by sleepinglion at 10:21 PM on July 23, 2010


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posted by dacoit at 11:13 PM on July 23, 2010


For those here who felt his best days as a journalist were long past, you should revisist Schorr's many NPR pieces disecting the many bush mendacities of the last decade.
Like Murrow and Cronkite (but not Rather) they don't make journalistic icons like this anymore.
posted by Fupped Duck at 11:13 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by klangklangston at 12:13 AM on July 24, 2010


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posted by kaiserin at 12:44 AM on July 24, 2010


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posted by Spatch at 4:11 AM on July 24, 2010


For those here who felt his best days as a journalist were long past, you should revisist Schorr's many NPR pieces disecting the many bush mendacities of the last decade.

NPR makes much of its "driveway moments", but for me Mr. Schorr's commentaries would not only keep me in the car a minute or two longer, but bring whatever else I was doing to a screeching halt and tell my family to be quiet for a while to see what he had to say. The "wasteland of NPR" was just the place for him. I remember where I was when JFK died (my mother's womb), John Lennon, the Challenger and Columbia, and now I can add Daniel Schorr to that list. I admire him that much.

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posted by TedW at 5:58 AM on July 24, 2010


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Saturday and Sunday mornings will be that much emptier with his thoughtful analyses. I got a little misty remembering the time that he sang "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" a capella.
posted by scblackman at 7:54 AM on July 24, 2010


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posted by kuppajava at 10:12 AM on July 24, 2010


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posted by BaxterG4 at 11:03 AM on July 24, 2010


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posted by joedan at 11:29 AM on July 24, 2010


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posted by ialwayscryatendings at 12:47 PM on July 24, 2010


Schorr, quoted by Hank Whittemore in CNN: The Inside Story:

I knew nothing about [Ted Turner], other than what I'd read in Time magazine, about him having won the America's Cup and becoming very drunk, and that he had started a SuperStation, the nature of which I did not understand...

But I had been told that one of the things he did on his station was a kind of lampoon of the news [17 Update Early in the Morning with Bill Tush]. So I was really bothered about why I would join this guy's news operation, if he was making fun of the news.

Turner explained to me, however, that this was gonna be serious...

...He finally said, 'Look, I have a news conference at four o'clock this afternoon, at which I'm giong to announce that starting June first of next year I'm going to start the operation of Cable News Network. If you will appear with me, if you want to work with me, let's sign something, anything, and I want you to go to the press conference with me. If you can't decide between now and four o'clock, there's no point in the whole thing.'

posted by evilcolonel at 2:25 PM on July 24, 2010


‘We owe it to history to publish it.’
posted by homunculus at 12:23 PM on July 25, 2010


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