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Legendary, veteran political journalist Daniel Schorr — who won Emmys, Peabodys, and inclusion in Richard Nixon’s “Enemies List,” which he considered to be among his greatest achievements — passed away this morning in a Washington, D.C., hospital. He was 93. NPR has a comprehensive, compelling obituary for Schorr on their website right now. They also make mention of Schorr’s chapter of history with this publication, which bears repeating.
In 1976, Schorr reported on the findings of the Pike Committee, which had investigated illegal CIA and FBI activities. The committee had voted to keep its final report secret, but Schorr leaked a copy to The Village Voice, which published it.
Schorr was threatened with a $100,000 fine and jail time for contempt of Congress. But during congressional testimony, Schorr refused to identify his source, citing First Amendment protections. The House ethics committee voted 6 to 5 against a contempt citation.
What you’re looking at on your left — click to enlarge it — is a scan we just took of the original issue featuring Schorr’s leak, pulled from our library. Schorr — who, to his death, kept the secret of his source for the Pike Report — was a fearless, brilliant reporter, and we’re proud to have played a part, however small, in his monumental legacy: that of someone who brought truth to light, wherever he could find it, without any hesitation.
Daniel Schorr was everything that is unequivocally righteous about the fourth estate; NPR’s obituary on the man is, again, a must-read for anyone interested in what journalism should aspire to be.