Roger Mudd, longtime network TV newsman, dies at 93

Author : googleindex
Publish Date : 2021-03-10


Roger Mudd, longtime network TV newsman, dies at 93

oger Mudd, the longtime political correspondent and anchor for NBC and CBS who once stumped Sen. Edward Kennedy by simply asking why he wanted to be president, has died. He was 93.

CBS News says Mudd died Tuesday of complications of kidney failure at his home in McLean, Virginia.

During more than 30 years on network television, starting with CBS in 1961, Mudd covered Congress, elections and political conventions and was a frequent anchor and contributor to various specials. His career coincided with the flowering of television news, the pre-cable, pre-Internet days when the big three networks and their powerhouse ranks of reporters were the main source of news for millions of Americans.

Besides work at CBS and NBC, he did stints on PBS’s “MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour” and the History Channel.

When he joined Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer’s show in 1987, Mudd told The Associated Press: “I think they regard news and information and fact and opinion with a reverence and respect that really is admirable.”

He wrote a memoir, “The Place To Be,” which came out in early 2008, and described the challenges and clashing egos he encountered working in Washington, where among other things he covered Congress for CBS for 15 years.

In an April 2008 interview on the “NewsHour,” he said he “absolutely loved” keeping tabs on the nation’s 100 senators and 435 representatives, “all of them wanting to talk, great access, politics morning, noon and night, as opposed to the White House, where everything is zipped up and tightly held.”

Mudd received a George Foster Peabody Award for his November 1979 special “CBS Reports: Teddy,” which aired just days before Kennedy officially announced his attempt to challenge then-President Carter for the 1980 Democratic presidential 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 focused answer or specify what he personally wanted to do.

“Well, I’m, uh, were I to make the announcement to run, the reasons that I would run is because I have a great belief in this country. ... We’re facing complex issues and problems in this nation at this time but we have faced similar challenges at other times. ... And I would basically feel that it’s imperative for this country to move forward, that it can’t stand still, for otherwise it moves backward.”

It was enough to prompt New York Times columnist Tom Wicker to give Kennedy the “Safire Prize for Nattering Nabob of the Year.” Carter went on to win the nomination for a second term, only to fall to Ronald Reagan in the general election.

As Mudd told viewers: “On the stump Kennedy can be dominating, imposing and masterful, but off the stump, in personal interviews, he can become stilted, elliptical and at times appear as if 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, substituting for Walter Cronkite when he was off and anchoring the Saturday evening news broadcasts from 1966 to 1973.

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