Anderson, Jack 1922–2005
Anderson, Jack 1922–2005
(Jackson Northman Anderson)
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born October 19, 1922, in Long Beach, CA; died of Parkinson's disease, December 17, 2005, in Bethesda, MD. Journalist and author. Anderson was a Pulitzer Prizewinning reporter best known for his muckraking "Washington Merry-Go-Round" column. Growing up in a Mormon family in Utah, his interest in journalism began early. At the young age of twelve, he was already doing editorial work on Boy Scout news for the local Deseret News. Soon after, he was earning a small income writing for the Murray Eagle, and in high school he contributed to the Salt Lake Tribune. After attending the University of Utah for a year, he followed the path of many young Mormons and worked as a missionary; next, from 1944 to 1945, he was in the merchant marine and attended its officer training school. During this time, Anderson contacted his home newspaper the Deseret News, and got an assignment as a foreign correspondent. Eager to get a scoop, he infiltrated an Office of Strategic Services (OSS) base in China. The OSS discovered him, but instead of sending him home asked him to report on Chinese guerillas. The journalist discovered that there were still Chinese revolutionaries resisting the new Communist government, but Anderson was not able to get his discoveries covered in U.S. newspapers. Inducted into the U.S. Army in 1945, he worked for Armed Forces Radio and military newspapers for two years before being discharged. Returning to America, he convinced columnist Drew Pearson to hire him to assist on the "Washington Merry-Go-Round" column. For many years, Anderson worked in obscurity under Pearson, but he also found work as Washington editor for Parade magazine. Threatening to quit his assistant's job with Pearson, the older columnist relented in 1965 and started giving Anderson byline credits; when he died four years later, Anderson inherited the column. Though sometimes maligned by other journalists who characterized him as a gossip who broke with accepted practices (he once testified before Congress and even offered information to Senator Joseph McCarthy, an act he later regretted), Anderson nevertheless found a wide audience. At one point, his column was carried in about a thousand newspapers; he also became a popular broadcaster and host of the Jack Anderson Radio Report. His investigative reports covered such events and scandals as the Iran-Contra affair, the Keating Five scandal, and the CIA-Mafia conspiracy to have Cuban leader Fidel Castro assassinated. Nominated for a Pulitzer prize in 1967 for his reports on campaign funding scams by Senator Thomas J. Dodd, Anderson won the prestigious award in 1972 for his coverage of the U.S. government's change in political favoritism from India to Pakistan. His stories sometimes earned him enemies, most notoriously President Richard Nixon, who put Anderson on his "enemies list" and was even rumored to have tried to have the journalist poisoned. Inducted into the Journalism Hall of Fame, Anderson continued to write his column until he retired in 2001. Among his books, some of them cowritten, are Washington Exposé (1967), Confessions of a Muckraker: The Inside Story of Life in Washington during the Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson Years (1979), and Inside the NRA: Armed and Dangerous (1996); in addition to his nonfiction, Anderson was also a novelist, penning such works as The Cambodia File (1981) and Control (1988).
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Los Angeles Times, December 18, 2005, p. B14.
New York Times, December 19, 2005, p. A31.
Washington Post, December 18, 2005, p. C8.