Roger Mudd, longtime TV newsman, dies at 93

In addition to his work at CBS and NBC, he has worked for PBS’s MacNeil / Teacher NewsHour and the History Channel.

When he joined the Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrers show in 1987, Mudd told The Associated Press, “I think they look at news and information and facts and opinions with an awe and respect that is truly admirable.”

He wrote a treatise titled “The Place To Be,” which came out in early 2008, describing the challenges and clashes of egos he encountered while working in Washington, where he spent 15 years on Congress for CBS, among other things reported.

In an April 2008 interview on NewsHour, he said he “absolutely loved” keeping an eye on the country’s 100 senators and 435 officials in the White House, which is zipped and held in place. “

Mudd received a George Foster Peabody Award for his November 1979 special “CBS Reports: Teddy,” which aired just days before Kennedy’s official attempt to challenge then-President Carter to the 1980 Democratic nomination.

In the report, Mudd asked the Massachusetts Senator a simple question: “Why do you want to be president?”

Kennedy was unable to give a specific answer or state what he wanted to do personally.

“Well, I am, um, if I made the announcement up and running, the reason I would be running is because I have a great belief in this country. … We are currently facing complex problems in this nation and Problems, but at other times we have faced similar challenges … And I would basically have the feeling that it is essential for this country to move forward, that it cannot stand still, otherwise it will move backwards. “

It was enough to get New York Times columnist Tom Wicker to award Kennedy the Safire Prize for Nattering Nabob of the Year. Carter won the nomination for a second term and fell to Ronald Reagan in the general election.

As Mudd told viewers, “On the stump, Kennedy can be dominant, imposing and masterful, but on the stump he can stilt, elliptical and sometimes look like he really doesn’t want America to get to know him. “

Mudd spent a fair amount of time in the CBS Evening News anchor chair, replacing Walter Cronkite when he was away, and anchoring the 1966-1973 Saturday night news broadcasts.

But he lost to Dan Rather in the competition to succeed Cronkite as a newscaster at CBS when he retired in 1981. For one thing, Cronkite had backed Rather because he didn’t think Mudd had enough foreign experience.

At this point, Mudd jumped out of Washington as the chief correspondent for NBC. He also co-hosted NBC’s “Nightly News” with Tom Brokaw for a year before Brokaw went solo in 1983, and at times co-hosted “Meet the Press,” the Sunday morning interview show.

But when he left NBC, he said management viewed news as “promotional merchandise” rather than a public service. His departure had been rumored since he harshly criticized NBC News for canceling the 1986 news magazine show, which he and Connie Chung anchored.

“Roger Mudd was one of the most talented journalists of my life. A shrewd political reporter and guardian of the highest standards. Roger’s commitment to basic journalistic practices remains a marker for future generations, ”Brokaw said.

For five years with NewsHour, Mudd served as a senior correspondent, essayist, and occasional anchor. He hosted a number of reports on American history and education, including “Learning in America: Schools That Work” and “The Wizard: Thomas Alva Edison”.

Mudd quit NewsHour in 1992 to teach journalism at Princeton University and described the offer to teach at Ivy League school as simply too appealing to be turned down. From 1995 to 2004 he was also the presenter and correspondent for The History Channel.

Among his other awards over the years, Mudd participated in a peabody for the 1970 CBS documentary “The Selling of the Pentagon,” which examined the military’s public relations efforts. Mudd was the narrator of what the Peabody judges said was “electronic journalism at its best”.

Early in his career at CBS, Mudd worked with Robert Trout to anchor coverage of the 1964 Democratic Convention after CBS – using Walter Cronkite as an anchor – behind NBC’s Chet Huntley and David Brinkley in ratings of the Republican Convention had left himself. The memorably named Mudd Trout team failed to capture the duo from NBC, and Cronkite was back as an anchor on election night in November.

In 1990 he received the Joan Shorenstein Barone Award for his outstanding reporting in Washington.

Prior to joining CBS News, Mudd worked for the Washington radio station WTOP. Prior to that, he was news director for WRNL Radio in Richmond, Virginia, reporter for the Richmond News Leader, and research fellow with the House Committee on Tax-Exempt Foundation. He was also an English and history teacher and soccer coach at Darlington School in Rome, Georgia.

In 1977 Mudd received honorary doctorates from the Washington Alma Mater and Lee University. In 2006 he donated his 1,500-volume collection of 20th century writers from the South to the university. In 1951 he earned a Masters in American History from the University of North Carolina.

Washington-born Mudd was a distant relative of Dr. Samuel Mudd, the doctor arrested shortly after Booth’s assassination of President Abraham Lincoln for treating an injured John Wilkes Booth. The doctor, who was eventually pardoned, said he knew nothing about the murder when he was helping Booth.

According to CBS News, Mudd and his late wife, the former E.J. Spears are survived by their four children as well as 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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