David Broder, who died Wednesday, March 9, at age 81 of complications from diabetes, was a highly respected journalist of the old school. He stuck to the five W’s in the news stories he wrote for the Washington Post over many decades: who, what, when, where, and why.
One admirer said his greatest strength was “the impartiality of his writing.”
He was, perhaps, the most trusted reporter in America.
Broder also wrote a widely-read syndicated column of political analysis, in which he did express his personal viewpoints. But in those columns, he never used the harsh language or personal attacks that characterize so much political discussion and commentary these days.
And, unlike some others in politics and the news media, Broder did not shy away from self-criticism. Once a year, he devoted his column to enumerating an “accounting of errors and misjudgments” he’d made.
Broder loved politics. But once in awhile, he would devote a column to two of his other great loves—his home town of Chicago, and baseball.
He won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Watergate scandal.
President Obama issued a statement praising Broder as “the most respected and incisive political commentator of his generation.” The president added, “Through all his successes, David remained an eminently kind and gracious person.”
His style, his high journalistic standards, his intellect, his sterling character, his likeable personality will be greatly missed.
European leaders were clear in their joint call for journalistic freedom, a credible investigation [into Jamal Khashoggi’s alleged killing and dismemberment by Saudi operatives] and accountability for any wrongdoing. In stark contrast, the American president chose to parrot Saudi denials and pitch an unsubstantiated and improbable explanation.