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Bernard Kalb, the veteran print and TV journalist and author who covered a host of world events during a six-decade career, has died. He was 100.
His death was reported by The Washington Post, which said Kalb died Sunday at his home in North Bethesda, Maryland, from complications of a fall, according to younger brother and fellow journalist Marvin Kalb.
Born in New York City on Feb. 4, 1922, Kalb graduated from City College of New York in 1942. He then served in the U.S. Army before at the end of World War II, joining The New York Times in 1946 to cover Southeast Asia and later the United Nations from New York City.
As as a globe-trotting correspondent, Kalb in 1962 jumped to TV and covered world affairs for CBS News from Hong Kong. From that vantage point, he traveled to China to chronicle President Richard Nixon’s historic cultural opening trip to that Asian nation in 1972.
In 1980, Kalb followed his brother Marvin to NBC News. And the Kalb brothers collaborated on an early biography of U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger that was published in 1974.
Then in 1984, Kalb joined the Reagan administration in the position of assistant Secretary of State for public affairs. But that stint as a U.S. State Department spokesperson was a short-lived as Kalb abruptly resigned in October 1986 as he criticized a “disinformation program” to remove Moammar Gadhafi as leader in Libya launched by the Reagan administration.
“You face a choice — as an American, as a spokesman, as a journalist — whether to allow oneself to be absorbed in the ranks of silence, whether to vanish into unopposed acquiescence or to enter a modest dissent,” Kalb said during a State Department news conference as he announced his resignation after insisting he had been caught off-guard by the clandestine campaign to bring down Gadhafi.
“To have resigned in so flamboyant a fashion can be justified only had it been necessary to call the attention of the American people to some dastardly official act,” the Post, which first reported on the disinformation campaign, said of Kalb’s departure in 1986.
He returned to TV journalism as a founding co-host of CNN’s Reliable Sources and held that role for much of the 1990s. And he worked widely as a lecturer and moderator in the U.S. and abroad as he became an expert on U.S. foreign policy and the media.
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