Cook, Fred J(ames) 1911-2003

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COOK, Fred J(ames) 1911-2003

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born March 8, 1911, in Point Pleasant, NJ; died April 4, 2003, in Interlaken, NJ. Journalist and author. Cook was a well-known investigative reporter who wrote revealing exposés on crime and corruption in federal agencies and large corporations. He was a graduate of Rutgers University, where he earned his B.Litt. in 1932. During the 1930s, he embarked on a journalism career, working as a reporter and later editor for the Asbury Park Press, then as an editor for the New Jersey Courier. It was during his stint as a rewrite man for the New York World Telegram and Sun in the 1940s and 1950s that Cook became disenchanted by what he felt were distortions in news reporting, so he became a freelance writer in 1959. His writing was aimed at exposing lies and cover-ups by government agencies, such as the FBI and CIA, the military, big businesses such as oil companies, and organized crime. He turned his investigations into articles and books, including The FBI Nobody Knows (1964), The Secret Rulers: Criminal Syndicates and How They Control the U.S. Underworld (1966), The Nightmare Decade: The Life and Times of Senator Joe McCarthy (1971), American Political Bosses and Machines (1973), and The Great Energy Scam: Private Billions vs. Public Good (1982). Cook adapted his research for a younger audience as well, producing such juvenile biographies as Franklin D. Roosevelt: Valiant Leader (1969), and books on American government for young adults, including Golden Book of the American Revolution (1959) and American Political Parties (1971). His 1964 book, Barry Goldwater: Extremist on the Right, led to a Supreme Court case that later became known as the Red Lion case. Cook was accused of slanted reporting by Billy James Hargis on the radio program Christian Crusade, and as a result Cook demanded the right to broadcast a rebuttal. One of the stations that was to make the broadcast, WGCB in Red Lion, Pennsylvania, sued the FCC, saying that being forced to broadcast Cook's rebuttal was a violation of the station's free speech right to determine for itself which programs it aired. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, ruled against WGCB, saying that free speech takes second place to the public's right to know all sides of an issue. Cook received several journalism awards for his work, including four Page One awards from the New York Newspaper Guild and a Sidney Hillman Award. His last book was the 1984 autobiography Maverick: Fifty Years of Investigative Reporting.



New York Times, May 4, 2003, p. A35.

Washington Post, May 5, 2003, p. B6.