Daniel Schorr dies at 93
Emmy-winning CBS veteran made Nixon's 'Enemies List'Daniel Schorr, whose distinguished and often controversial broadcast journalism career spanned six decades, died Friday at a Washington hospital. He was 93.
Schorr began as one of Edward R. Murrow's recruits at CBS, earned Emmys in three straight years for reporting on the Watergate scandal during the 1970s and achieved the distinction of being included on President Nixon's "Enemies List." He counted his inclusion by Nixon as his greatest achievement.
Schorr joined CNN in 1979, becoming the nucleus of the fledgling cable outfit's foray into round-the-clock news and its quest for legitimacy. He left in 1985 and had since been serving as a news analyst at NPR, contributing regularly to "All Things Considered" and other programs.
Schorr likened his TV coverage to that of a hard-nosed newspaper investigative journalist, who researched an area extensively and then queried his interviewee with authority, unlike the usual style of sticking a microphone in front of someone and allowing them to make a self-serving statement. He often became part of the story.
In 1957, the New York native was denied a return visa by the Soviet Union after he had conducted a one-on-one interview with Soviet Union Premier Nikita Khrushchev that aired on "Face the Nation." He presented a highly negative report on life under communism in East Germany with "The Land Beyond the Wall: Three Weeks in a German City," which aired in 1962 on CBS.
His methods were not always appreciated by his subjects and superiors. He obtained a copy of the Pike Congressional Committee's report on illegal CIA and FBI activities in 1976 and sold it to the Village Voice. He subsequently was fired by CBS News and gave his side of the story in his 1977 autobiography "Clearing the Air."
Schorr's tenure at CNN ended with he "retired" in 1984, claiming that the network "wanted to be rid of what they considered a loose cannon." He objected to CNN founder Ted Turner's desire to pair Schorr with former Texas Gov. John Connally as co-commentators during the Republican convention.
He was undeniably blunt and did not mince words. His NPR commentary on the Supreme Court's ruling that essentially awarded the disputed presidential election to George W. Bush over Al Gore garnered widespread wrath among listeners, many of whom considered him to be the poster child for liberal bias in government-run media.
His muckraking style often alienated presidents of both parties: President Eisenhower was soured by his report that John Foster Dulles was retiring (it was true); the Kennedy administration regarded his West German reports as being pro-German; and Nixon regarded him as an enemy.
Schorr's numerous awards include a Peabody, the Alfred I. Dupont-Columbia University Golden Baton -- equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize for broadcasting -- and the Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement in Broadcasting. He is a member of the Hall of Fame of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Schorr was born Aug. 31, 1916, in New York. He ventured into journalism at age 12, when he phoned the Bronx Home News with details of a roof fire. He worked as a stringer at that paper and the Jewish Daily Bulletin, then served as news editor at the Dutch news agency ANETA from 1941-43, then as a reporter at several newspapers.
During World War II, Schorr served in Army Intelligence. Following his discharge, he worked as a freelance Washington correspondent at CBS News and in 1953 was assigned to CBS' reopened Moscow Bureau as one of "Murrow's Boys," where he served for two years.
He became CBS News bureau chief in Germany and Central Europe, serving from 1960-66. The next 10 years, he worked as a Washington correspondent at CBS News, during which time he distinguished himself with his Watergate coverage.
Schorr also investigated and filed reports on such issues as education, pollution, poverty and health care, including a provocative CBS Reports program in 1970, "Don't Get Sick in America." That report was distilled into a book, which was published the same year.
He did periodic cameos in such mainstream movies as "The Net" (1995), "The Game" (1997) and "The Siege" (1998).
Survivors include wife Lisbeth, whom he married in 1967; children Jonathan and Lisa; and one grandchild. Memorial plans have not been set.