Bernard Kalb, journalist and commentator, dies at 100

Bernard Kalb, a journalist and creator who lined international affairs and later forged a vital eye on the media as a commentator for CNN, however who could also be greatest remembered for his resignation in 1986 as State Division spokesman to protest a authorities disinformation marketing campaign, died Jan. 8 at his house in North Bethesda, Md. He was 100.

The trigger was problems from a fall, mentioned his youthful brother, Marvin Kalb.

In a profession spanning six a long time, Mr. Kalb grew to become a high-profile journalist who crossed paths with a few of the most intriguing personalities of his era. When he was a younger Military journalist throughout World Conflict II, his editor was the detective-story grasp Dashiell Hammett — “a bayonet of a person,” Mr. Kalb later recalled, and a “big of an creator who took a bunch of semiliterate children and turned them into beginner newsmen.”

On the New York Occasions after the battle, Mr. Kalb labored his approach from the radio desk to abroad assignments. He accompanied polar explorer Adm. Richard E. Byrd to the South Pole within the winter of 1955-1956. In the course of the four-month expedition, Mr. Kalb later quipped, his hardest feat was discovering synonyms for the phrase “ice” and avoiding the cliche “backside of the world.”

He lined the United Nations and the crisis-laden rule of Indonesia’s President Sukarno earlier than switching to TV journalism in 1962 and opening the CBS Information bureau in Hong Kong. He gained an Abroad Press Membership Award for a 1968 documentary on the Viet Cong, and he accompanied President Richard M. Nixon on his historic journey to China in 1972.

Mr. Kalb additionally was a Washington anchorman on “CBS Morning Information,” amongst different assignments, however he distinguished himself most on the State Division beat, protecting 5 secretaries of state from Henry Kissinger to George P. Shultz. Along with his youthful brother, Marvin, additionally a broadcast journalist, Mr. Kalb wrote an early biography of Kissinger.

The Kalb brothers each made the leap from CBS to NBC in 1980. Bernard Kalb then joined the Reagan administration in January 1985 as assistant secretary of state for public affairs. “This was nothing I sought to create or devise,” he instructed The Washington Put up on the time, describing the provide as “a possibility that got here out of some marvelous blue.”

Lanky, darkly good-looking, bombastic, jocular, cigar-wielding and given to what The Washington Put up referred to as “garish shirt-and-tie combos” heavy on stripes and burnt orange, he was an unlikely public face of the reserved and relatively colorless Shultz.

As spokesman, Mr. Kalb was lower than forthcoming with info (“I can’t be drawn into discussions on confidential exchanges,” he mentioned in response to at least one question) and commenced to develop a popularity amongst journalists for being intentionally unhelpful or else totally out of the loop.

“I had excessive visibility, easy accessibility — and silence,” he as soon as instructed The Put up. “I found that the job of spokesman is considered the world’s seventh-oldest career. The opposite six clearly are labeled.”

United Press Worldwide reported that he had “set a new record for State Department non-responsiveness” in August 1986 by saying, in impact, “I can’t provide you with something on that” to 30 questions in a single 24-minute briefing.

That October, Mr. Kalb mentioned he was caught unexpectedly when Post journalist Bob Woodward revealed a secret White Home plan that referred to as for the deliberate planting of false info within the U.S. media to weaken Libyan chief Moammar Gaddafi.

Quoting from a memorandum despatched to President Ronald Reagan by nationwide safety adviser John M. Poindexter, Woodward wrote {that a} key ingredient of the plan was to mix actual and illusory occasions to make Gaddafi assume “that there’s a excessive diploma of inside opposition to him inside Libya, that his key trusted aides are disloyal, that the U.S. is about to maneuver towards him militarily.”

The knowledge was planted first within the Wall Road Journal, the place White Home spokesman Larry Speakes confirmed that it was authoritative, after which was picked up by different information organizations.

Mr. Kalb, who said he had known nothing of the plan, give up. His departure induced an avalanche of headlines and set off a public examination of media-government relations.

“You face a alternative — as an American, as a spokesman, as a journalist — whether or not to permit oneself to be absorbed within the ranks of silence, whether or not to fade into unopposed acquiescence or to enter a modest dissent,” Mr. Kalb mentioned at a information convention on the State Division. He prevented criticizing Shultz, whom he referred to as “a person of integrity.”

Shultz, whereas admitting to no particular disinformation scheme, appeared to defend the disinformation coverage in precept, quoting Britain’s World Conflict II prime minister, Winston Churchill, as having mentioned, “In time of battle, the reality is so treasured, it should be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”

It was a uncommon act for a press secretary to so publicly give up and cite moral qualms. White Home spokesman Jerald terHorst resigned in 1974 after President Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon for Watergate-related crimes. Reagan deputy White Home press secretary Les Janka stepped down in 1983 to protest what he claimed was an effort to mislead reporters in regards to the Grenada invasion.

Concerning Mr. Kalb, Hodding Carter III, who served as State Division spokesman within the Jimmy Carter administration, instructed the Los Angeles Occasions that he discovered it “refreshing that in a city stuffed with careerists, somebody determined that what introduced him into authorities was what took him out — integrity.”

Mr. Kalb went on to turn into the founding host of CNN’s media-critique present “Dependable Sources” for a lot of the Nineteen Nineties, till he was succeeded by then-Put up media author Howard Kurtz.

Bernard Kalb was born in Manhattan on Feb. 4, 1922, to Jewish immigrants from czarist Russia. His father grew to become a tailor, and his mom was largely a homemaker.

After graduating in 1942 from Metropolis School of New York, Mr. Kalb joined the Military and was despatched to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, the place he labored on a newspaper underneath Hammett.

Mr. Kalb joined the Occasions in 1946 and spent almost a decade as a author for the newspaper’s radio station, WQXR, regardless of what friends akin to Arthur Gelb — later a prime editor — acknowledged as his “aptitude” and a burning ambition to turn into a international correspondent. Lastly, in 1955, he was assigned to chronicle Operation Deep Freeze, Byrd’s remaining expedition to Antarctica — Mr. Kalb’s huge break in journalism.

In 1958, he married Phyllis Bernstein. Along with his brother, of Chevy Chase, Md., and his spouse, of North Bethesda, survivors embody 4 daughters, Tanah Kalb of Westport, Conn., Marina Kalb of Brookline, Mass., Claudia Kalb of Alexandria, Va., and Sarinah Kalb of Israel; and 9 grandchildren.

After “Kissinger” (1974), Mr. Kalb and his brother wrote a novel, “The Final Ambassador” (1981), in regards to the fall of Saigon.

The Kalb brothers have been keen on self-deprecating remarks about sibling rivalry, exacerbated by a shared career. In a word of their Kissinger biography, Bernard and Marvin signed an announcement testifying that “my brother” was accountable for any errors.

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