Remembering Daniel Schorr

Daniel Schorr, whose name became synonymous with tough but thoughtful broadcast journalism over a 60-year career, died July 23 at age 93.

Born in New York of Russian Jewish immigrant parents, Schorr visited Los Angeles about a dozen years ago for an outdoor reception of behalf of the New Israel Fund, if memory serves correctly.

The title of his talk, “Forgive Us Our Press Passes,” indicated that this would be a fairly light-hearted talk, and Schorr did not disappoint.

He recalled cutting his journalistic teeth at the New York office of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, starting in 1934 and stayed for seven years.

Schorr left, he maintained, after “I became aware that I was looking at everything through a Jewish lens.”

Though a fearless reporter, Schorr recalled the one instance in which he killed a legitimate item. As I remember the story, Schorr was traveling through Eastern Europe during the Cold War, when he encountered a group of Russian Jews, who had left the Soviet Union clandestinely and were heading for Israel.

Schorr thought he had a nice scoop, but the Russian Jews begged him to kill the story. If not, they warned, the Soviet regime would immediately clamp down on the trickle of Jews able to leave.

After wrestling with his conscience and journalistic instincts, Schorr decided not to file the story.