Thursday, November 09, 2006

Another of the Great Ones Gone

Amid the euphoria following Tuesday’s U.S. elections, we receive some bad news: Ed Bradley, the former CBS News White House correspondent who joined the correspondents’ staff at 60 Minutes in 1981, died this morning of complications from leukemia at a New York City hospital. He was 65.

A former sixth-grade teacher in Philadelphia, Bradley landed his first full-time reporting job in 1967, with the CBS-owned radio station in New York. He later became a CBS News stringer, reporting on the Paris Peace Talks in 1973, and received shrapnel wounds to his back and arm while covering the Vietnam War. After covering then-Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter’s successful race for the U.S. presidency in 1976, Bradley was assigned to the White House beat for two years, after which he served as principal correspondent for the CBS Reports program. A CBS obituary says that Bradley received “19 Emmys, the latest for a segment that reported the reopening of the 50-year-old racial murder case of Emmett Till.” Another of those Emmy Awards was given to him for interviewing condemned Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh--“the only television interview ever given by the man guilty of one of the worst terrorist acts on American soil,” according to CBS. In 2005, Bradley was also honored with the Lifetime Achievement award from the National Association of Black Journalists.

My only association with Bradley was through the flickering images on television. But with his soothing baritone voice and distinctive earring (the result, apparently, of a suggestion from singer Liza Minnelli), Ed Bradley struck me as not only a knowledgeable man (I was particularly fond of his reports on musicians, jazz masters especially), but as someone who strode the earth with the self-confidence necessary to change it, if only slightly. He will be missed.

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