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Death and Other Inconveniences

Another hero died, in what’s turning out to be a brutal year for heroes. You should remember Schorr for symbolizing the good side of the old journalism, not just the muckraking, but the sense of civic duty, the pride in jobs done well and not just done, and the fact that he seemed willing to fight, bare-fisted, anyone who ever called him a cocksucker.

Ethically speaking, he wasn’t always traveling with a full saddlebag, but his instincts were mostly right, and he gave Nixon more than a few sleepless nights, which is reason enough to remember him well even when you don’t throw in the Barry Goldwater badgering and the utter balls of steel he seemed to acquire as he approached “fuck you, I don’t need this job” status in the mid-Seventies:

Schorr provoked intense controversy in 1976 when he received and made public the contents of the secret Pike Committee report on illegal CIAand FBI activities. Called to testify before Congress, he refused to identify his source on First Amendment grounds, risking imprisonment. This did not mollify CBS executives, and Schorr ultimately resigned from his position at CBS in September 1976.

There won’t be another one like him, ever, so take a moment to think about Daniel Schorr today, even if just to curse his name.

We lost Howard Zinn, of course, in January, which made us instantly 1.7% worse off as a species. And then I noticed Harvey Pekar died a couple of weeks ago. I know how I missed it — I was camping that weekend and Pekar is not a name that was likely to linger long on news sites — but I was still completely stunned to find out. He was 70, which also seems impossible. Prostate cancer, apparently. Bye Harvey. I feel like we hardly ever figured out anything about you, even though we practically knew everything.

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