Saturday, July 24, 2010

Daniel Schorr

The long time, highly respected journalist, Daniel Schorr died yesterday at the age of 93. Years ago I had the pleasure of reading his book: Clearing the Air which described his experience reading his own name on President Nixon's enemies list on live TV and his leaking of the Pike Congressional Committee's report on illegal CIA and FBI activities.

He once described how he approaches a television news story:

"My typical way of operating is not to stick a camera and a microphone in somebody's face and let him say whatever self-serving thing he wants to say, but to spend a certain amount of time getting the basic information, as though I was going to write a newspaper story.... [I] may end up putting a mike in somebody's face, but it is usually for the final and hopefully embarassing question."

In broadcast news today, the philosophy seems to be that "balance" comes from allowing each side a chance to say "whatever self-serving thing" they want to say, as opposed to searching for, and broadcasting the facts.

There's a great and detailed tribute to Mr. Schorr at NPR:

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