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Daniel Schorr

Daniel Schorr

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Daniel Louis Schorr was an American journalist
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

 who covered world news for more than 60 years. He was most recently a Senior News Analyst for National Public Radio (NPR). Schorr won three Emmy Awards for his television journalism.

Early life

Schorr was born in the Bronx, New York, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants Tillie Godiner and Gedaliah Tchornemoretz. He began his journalism career at the age of 13, when he came upon a woman who had jumped or fallen from the roof of his apartment building. After calling the police, he phoned the Bronx Home News and was paid $5 for his information.

He attended DeWitt Clinton High School
DeWitt Clinton High School
DeWitt Clinton High School is an American high school located in the Bronx, New York City, New York.-History:Clinton opened in 1897 at 60 West 13th Street at the northern end of Greenwich Village under the name of Boys High School, although this Boys High School was not related to the one in Brooklyn...

 in the West Bronx
West Bronx
The West Bronx is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of the Bronx. The neighborhood lies west of the Bronx River and roughly corresponds to the western half of the borough....

, where he worked on the Clinton News, the school paper. He graduated from City College of New York
City College of New York
The City College of the City University of New York is a senior college of the City University of New York , in New York City. It is also the oldest of the City University's twenty-three institutions of higher learning...

 in 1939 while working for the Jewish Daily Bulletin. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Schorr served in Army Intelligence at Fort Polk
Fort Polk
Fort Polk is a United States Army installation located in Vernon Parish, approximately 7 miles east of Leesville, Louisiana and 20 miles north of DeRidder, Louisiana....

, Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, and at Fort Sam Houston
Fort Sam Houston
Fort Sam Houston is a U.S. Army post in San Antonio, Texas.Known colloquially as "Fort Sam," it is named for the first President of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston....

, Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...


In January 1967, he married Lisbeth Bamberger, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...


Journalism during the Cold War

Following several years as a stringer
Stringer (journalism)
In journalism, a stringer is a type of freelance journalist or photographer who contributes reports or photos to a news organization on an ongoing basis but is paid individually for each piece of published or broadcast work....

, in 1953 he joined CBS News
CBS News
CBS News is the news division of American television and radio network CBS. The current chairman is Jeff Fager who is also the executive producer of 60 Minutes, while the current president of CBS News is David Rhodes. CBS News' flagship program is the CBS Evening News, hosted by the network's main...

 as one of the recruits of Edward R. Murrow
Edward R. Murrow
Edward Roscoe Murrow, KBE was an American broadcast journalist. He first came to prominence with a series of radio news broadcasts during World War II, which were followed by millions of listeners in the United States and Canada.Fellow journalists Eric Sevareid, Ed Bliss, and Alexander Kendrick...

 (becoming part of the later generation of Murrow's Boys
Murrow's Boys
Murrow’s Boys, or “The Murrow Boys,” were the CBS broadcast journalists most closely associated with Edward R. Murrow during his years at the network, most notably the years before and during World War II....

). In 1955, with the post-Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 thaw in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, he received accreditation to open a CBS bureau in Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

. In June 1957, he obtained an exclusive interview with Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

, the Soviet Communist party chief. It aired on CBS's Face the Nation
Face the Nation
Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer is an American Sunday-morning political interview show which premiered on the CBS television network on November 7, 1954. It is one of the longest-running news programs in the history of television...

, Schorr's first television interview. Schorr left the Soviet Union later that year, because of Soviet censorship laws. When he applied for a new visa, it was denied by the Soviets.

In January 1962, he aired the first examination of everyday life under communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 in East Germany, The Land Beyond the Wall: Three Weeks in a German City, which The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

called a "journalistic coup". After agreeing not to foster "propaganda" for the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Schorr was granted the rights to conduct the interviews in the city of Rostock
Rostock -Early history:In the 11th century Polabian Slavs founded a settlement at the Warnow river called Roztoc ; the name Rostock is derived from that designation. The Danish king Valdemar I set the town aflame in 1161.Afterwards the place was settled by German traders...

. By airing everyday life, Schorr painted a picture of the necessity for a Communist state to seal itself off from the West in order to survive.

CBS executives were not amused when Schorr reported—incorrectly—that Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Barry Morris Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr...

 was said to "travel to Germany to join-up with the right-wing there", and visit "Hitler's one-time stomping ground" in Berchtesgaden
Berchtesgaden is a municipality in the German Bavarian Alps. It is located in the south district of Berchtesgadener Land in Bavaria, near the border with Austria, some 30 km south of Salzburg and 180 km southeast of Munich...

, immediately after he became the Republican nominee for president. For obvious reasons, this did not fare well with Goldwater, who demanded an apology for the "CBS conspiracy" against his campaign for president.

Schorr took a close journalistic interest in the career of Vice President of the United States
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr. , served under President Lyndon B. Johnson as the 38th Vice President of the United States. Humphrey twice served as a United States Senator from Minnesota, and served as Democratic Majority Whip. He was a founder of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and...


The 1970s

Schorr attracted the anger of the Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

. In 1971, after a dispute with White House aides, Schorr's friends, neighbors, and co-workers were questioned by the FBI
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 about his habits. They were told that Schorr was under consideration for a high-level position in the environmental area. Schorr knew nothing about it. Later, during the Watergate
Watergate scandal
The Watergate scandal was a political scandal during the 1970s in the United States resulting from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement...

 hearings, it was revealed that Nixon aides had drawn up what became known as Nixon's Enemies List
Nixon's Enemies List
Nixon’s Enemies List is the informal name of what started as a list of President of the United States Richard Nixon’s major political opponents compiled by Charles Colson, written by George T. Bell , and sent in memorandum form to John Dean on September 9, 1971...

, and Daniel Schorr was on that list. Famously, Schorr read the list aloud on live TV, surprised to be reading his own name in that context. Schorr won Emmys for news reporting in 1972, 1973, and 1974.

Schorr provoked intense controversy in 1976 when he received and made public the contents of the secret Pike Committee report on illegal CIA
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 and FBI activities. Called to testify before Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, he refused to identify his source on First Amendment
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering...

 grounds, risking imprisonment. This did not mollify CBS executives, and Schorr ultimately resigned from his position at CBS in September 1976.

On May 14, 2006, on NPR's Weekend Edition
Weekend Edition
Weekend Edition is the name given to a set of American radio news magazines produced and distributed by National Public Radio . It is the weekend counterpart to Morning Edition. It consists of Weekend Edition Saturday and Weekend Edition Sunday , each of which airs for two hours, from 8 a.m. to 10...

, Schorr mentioned a meeting at the White House that took place with colleague A. M. Rosenthal
A. M. Rosenthal
Abraham Michael "A.M." Rosenthal , born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, was a New York Times executive editor and columnist and New York Daily News columnist . He joined the New York Times in 1943 and worked for the Times for 56 years - from 1943 to 1999...

 and president Gerald Ford. Ford mentioned that the Rockefeller Commission
United States President's Commission on CIA activities within the United States
The U.S. President's Commission on CIA activities within the United States was set up under President Gerald Ford in 1975 to investigate the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agencies within the United States...

 had access to various CIA documents, including those referring to political assassinations. Although scolded at first for his television report by former CIA director Richard Helms
Richard Helms
Richard McGarrah Helms was the Director of Central Intelligence from 1966 to 1973. He was the only director to have been convicted of lying to the United States Congress over Central Intelligence Agency undercover activities. In 1977, he was sentenced to the maximum fine and received a suspended...

, Schorr was vindicated by the text of the Pike Committee, which he obtained from an undisclosed source and leaked to The Village Voice
The Village Voice
The Village Voice is a free weekly newspaper and news and features website in New York City that features investigative articles, analysis of current affairs and culture, arts and music coverage, and events listings for New York City...


Career as an elder statesman of journalism

In 1977, he was hired by Reese Schonfeld
Reese Schonfeld
Maurice "Reese" Schonfeld is an American television journalist who was co-founder of CNN and the Food Network.Schonfeld grew up in Newark, New Jersey, graduated from Dartmouth College and received an M.A. and a law degree from Columbia University....

 as a White House correspondent for ITNA (Independent Television News Association), a news agency serving independent television news stations in the U.S. In 1979, Schonfeld and Ted Turner
Ted Turner
Robert Edward "Ted" Turner III is an American media mogul and philanthropist. As a businessman, he is known as founder of the cable news network CNN, the first dedicated 24-hour cable news channel. In addition, he founded WTBS, which pioneered the superstation concept in cable television...

 brought Schorr to CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

, where he was the first on camera employee hired. At CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

, he reported news and delivered commentary and news analysis on the fledgling Cable News Network (CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

). His contract was not renewed in 1985, one of the two times he stated he was "fired". He then took the position as Senior News Analyst at NPR, a position he held for decades up to the time of his death. In that position, he regularly commented on current events for programs including All Things Considered
All Things Considered
All Things Considered is the flagship news program on the American network National Public Radio. It was the first news program on NPR, and is broadcast live worldwide through several outlets...

and Weekend Edition
Weekend Edition
Weekend Edition is the name given to a set of American radio news magazines produced and distributed by National Public Radio . It is the weekend counterpart to Morning Edition. It consists of Weekend Edition Saturday and Weekend Edition Sunday , each of which airs for two hours, from 8 a.m. to 10...

. He also wrote a column for the Christian Science Monitor for several decades. Schorr was called "reliably liberal", and was "widely regarded as a liberal" according to another source, though he regarded the label as inaccurate.

In 1994, Schorr narrated the TV miniseries, Watergate. In the late 1990s, he appeared briefly as a newscaster in three Hollywood movies; The Game
The Game (film)
The Game is a 1997 neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher, starring Michael Douglas and Sean Penn, and produced by Polygram. It tells the story of an investment banker who is given a mysterious gift: participation in a game that integrates in strange ways with his life...

, The Net, and The Siege
The Siege
The Siege is a 1998 American thriller film directed by Edward Zwick. The film is about a fictional situation in which terrorist cells have made several attacks on New York City...

. In the 1997 film The Game
The Game (film)
The Game is a 1997 neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher, starring Michael Douglas and Sean Penn, and produced by Polygram. It tells the story of an investment banker who is given a mysterious gift: participation in a game that integrates in strange ways with his life...

starring Michael Douglas
Michael Douglas
Michael Kirk Douglas is an American actor and producer, primarily in movies and television. He has won three Golden Globes and two Academy Awards; first as producer of 1975's Best Picture, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and as Best Actor in 1987 for his role in Wall Street. Douglas received the...

, Schorr spoke to the main character through his television. He also appeared as himself in the docufiction
Docufiction is a neologism which refers to the cinematographic combination of documentary and fiction. More precisely, it is a documentary contaminated with fictional elements, in real time, filmed when the events take place, and in which someone - the character - plays his own role in real life...

 film World War Three: The Movie that considered an alternative ending to the USA/USSR Cold War.

Schorr was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

 in 2002.

Other work

Though not a fan of rock music
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

, Schorr became friends with composer Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa
Frank Vincent Zappa was an American composer, singer-songwriter, electric guitarist, record producer and film director. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa wrote rock, jazz, orchestral and musique concrète works. He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed...

 after the latter contacted him, asking for help with a voter-registration
Voter registration
Voter registration is the requirement in some democracies for citizens and residents to check in with some central registry specifically for the purpose of being allowed to vote in elections. An effort to get people to register is known as a voter registration drive.-Centralized/compulsory vs...

 drive. Schorr made an appearance with Zappa on February 10, 1988, where he sang "It Ain't Necessarily So
It Ain't Necessarily So
"It Ain't Necessarily So" is a popular song with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin. The song comes from the Gershwins' opera Porgy and Bess where it is sung by the character Sportin' Life, a drug dealer, who expresses his doubt about several statements in the Bible.The role of...

" and "Summertime
Summertime (song)
"Summertime" is an aria composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. The lyrics are by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel Porgy on which the opera was based, although the song is also co-credited to Ira Gershwin by ASCAP....

". 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
Music theory
Music theory is the study of how music works. It examines the language and notation of music. It seeks to identify patterns and structures in composers' techniques across or within genres, styles, or historical periods...

, but he found a kindred spirit—a serious man with a commitment to free speech
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...


About 20 years after Nixon's resignation, Schorr attended a dinner where Nixon spoke about the Soviet Union. After the dinner ended, Schorr walked up to Nixon and said, "Mr. Nixon, I'm not sure you'll remember me." Nixon replied, "Dan Schorr, damn near hired you once."

In 2000, referring to the Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore, Schorr wrote in a Christian Science Monitor column that the "gang of five" had produced a "coup" and a "junta."


Schorr died peacefully from an apparent "short illness" on July 23, 2010, at a Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 hospital. He was 93 years old. Schorr's last broadcast commentary for NPR
NPR, formerly National Public Radio, is a privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization that serves as a national syndicator to a network of 900 public radio stations in the United States. NPR was created in 1970, following congressional passage of the Public Broadcasting...

 aired on July 10, 2010.

Schorr's last broadcast on July 10, 2010, ended with Scott Simon thanking him, and with Dan's response and concluding remark of "any time".


  • Emmy Award for "for outstanding achievement within a regularly scheduled news program", 1972, 1973, and 1974.
  • George Polk Award for Radio Commentary, for his work on NPR, 1993.
  • Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University
    Columbia University
    Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

     "Golden Baton" for "Exceptional Contributions to Radio and Television Reporting and Commentary", 1996.
  • Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement in Broadcasting, 2002.


  • (2007) Come to Think of It: Notes on the Turn of the Millennium . Viking Adult. ISBN 0670018732.
  • (2005) The Senate Watergate Report. Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-1709-2.
  • (2002) Staying Tuned: A Life in Journalism. Washington Square Press. ISBN 0-671-02088-9.
  • (1998) Forgive Us Our Press Passes, Selected Works (1972–1998). O'Brien Center for Scholarly Pubns. ISBN 0-9626954-6-7.
  • (1978) Clearing The Air. Berkley. ISBN 0-425-03903-X.
  • (1970) Don't Get Sick in America. Aurora Publishers. ISBN 0-87695-103-5.

External links