Kalb, Bernard

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KALB, BERNARD (1922– ), U.S. journalist. Born in New York, the son of immigrants from Poland and Russia, Kalb graduated from the City College of New York in 1942. He then spent two years in the Army, mostly on an Army newspaper in the remote Aleutian Islands. His editor was Sgt. Dashiell Hammett, the detective story writer. After the war, Kalb got a job with The New York Times, first as a writer for its radio station and then as a reporter in New York City and at the United Nations bureau. On his first overseas assignment, he accompanied Adm. Richard E. Byrd on a mission to Antarctica in late 1955 and early 1956. Later, he was sent to Indonesia and served there until 1961, covering the chaotic rule of President Sukarno. In 1962 Kalb opened a cbs News bureau in Hong Kong and worked there until 1970. Returning to the United States, Kalb was posted to Washington, where he covered the State Department for eight years, traveling constantly with secretaries of state, until 1984, when he became the department's spokesman, with the title of assistant secretary of state for public affairs. It was the first time a journalist who covered the State Department had been named as its spokesman. Kalb worked there first for cbs News and after 1980 for nbc News. At the time of his appointment, Kalb's younger brother, Marvin, was chief diplomatic correspondent for nbc News. As a television correspondent, he accompanied President Nixon on the opening trip to China in 1972. As State Department spokesman, Kalb was with the U.S. delegation when President Reagan held his first summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva in November 1985. In 1986, when he read about the Reagan Administration's reported effort to deceive news organizations, Kalb resigned from the State Department. Kalb then became the founding anchor and a panelist on the weekly cnn program Reliable Sources, which turned a critical eye on the media in a weekly series that ran for 10 years. He was coauthor with his brother of two books: Kissinger (1974), about the former secretary of state, and The Last Ambassador (1975), a novel about the collapse of Saigon.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]