Schorr, Daniel

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SCHORR, DANIEL (1916– ), U.S. journalist. Schorr was born in New York City, the son of Russian immigrants. He began his journalistic career at 12 when he came upon a woman who had jumped or fallen from the roof of his Bronx apartment building. After calling the police, Schorr phoned the Bronx Home News and was paid $5 for the tip. In a career of more than six decades, Schorr earned many awards for journalistic excellence, including three Emmys, and decorations from European heads of state. He was also honored by civil liberties groups and professional organizations for his defense of the First Amendment. After serving in Army Intelligence during World War ii, Schorr began writing from Western Europe for The Christian Science Monitor and later the New York Times, witnessing postwar reconstruction, the Marshall Plan, and the creation of the nato alliance. In 1953 his vivid coverage of a disastrous flood that broke the dikes of the Netherlands brought him to the attention of Edward R. Murrow of the Columbia Broadcasting System. Schorr joined cbs News as its diplomatic correspondent in Washington. In 1955, with the post-Stalin thaw in the Soviet Union, he received accreditation to open a cbs bureau in Moscow. His two-and-a-half-year assignment culminated in the first exclusive television interview with a Soviet leader, Nikita S. Khrushchev, filmed in his Kremlin office in 1957 for cbs's Face the Nation. Schorr's repeated defiance of Soviet censorship, however, eventually landed him in trouble with the kgb, the secret police, and, after a brief arrest on trumped-up charges, he was barred from the Soviet Union at the end of 1957. For the next two years, Schorr reported from Washington and the United Nations, covering Khrushchev's tumultuous tour of the United States in 1959, interviewing Fidel Castro in Cuba, and traveling with President Dwight D. Eisenhower to South America, Asia, and Europe. In 1960 Schorr was assigned to Bonn as cbs bureau chief for Germany and Eastern Europe and covered the Berlin crisis and the building of the Berlin Wall. In 1972, while being assigned to Washington, Schorr began a full-time assignment for cbs as its chief correspondent on the Watergate break-in story. Schorr's exclusive reports and on-the-scene coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings earned him three Emmys. He unexpectedly found himself a part of his own story when the hearings turned up a Nixon "enemies list" with his name on it and evidence that the president had ordered that the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigate him. This "abuse of a Federal agency" was one count in the Bill of Impeachment on which Nixon would have been tried had he not resigned in August 1974. That fall, Schorr again became part of his own story. When the House of Representatives voted to suppress the final report of its intelligence investigating committee, Schorr arranged for publication of the advance copy he had obtained. This led to his suspension by cbs and an investigation by the House Ethics Committee, in which Schorr was threatened with jail for contempt of Congress if he did not disclose his source. At a public hearing he refused on First Amendment grounds. The committee voted 6 to 5 against a contempt citation. Schorr resigned from CBS and wrote his account of his stormy experience in a book, Clearing the Air. In 1979 Schorr was hired by Ted Turner to help create the Cable News Network, and he served in Washington as senior correspondent until 1985. Subsequently Schorr worked primarily for National Public Radio as senior news analyst, working effectively as he approached 90. In 2002 Schorr was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was the author of Stay Tuned: A Life in Journalism (2001) and Forgive Us Our Press Passes (1998).

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]