David S. Broder

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David S. Broder
Born David Salzer Broder
(1929-09-11)September 11, 1929
Chicago Heights, Illinois, U.S.
Died March 9, 2011(2011-03-09) (aged 81)
Arlington County, Virginia, U.S.
Education B.A. Liberal Arts University of Chicago
M.A. Political Science University of Chicago
Occupation Journalist, columnist,
lecturer, writer
Years active 1953–2011
Spouse(s) Ann Creighton Collar
Children 4

David Salzer Broder (September 11, 1929[1] – March 9, 2011), was an American journalist, writing for The Washington Post for over 40 years.[2] He also was an author, television news show pundit, and university lecturer.

For more than half a century, Broder reported on every presidential campaign, beginning with the 1956 Eisenhower–Stevenson race.[2] Known as the "dean" of the Washington, D.C., press corps, Broder made over 400 appearances on NBC's Meet the Press.

Upon Broder's death in March 2011, President Barack Obama called him the "most respected and incisive political commentator of his generation."[3][4]

Early life and education

David Salzer Broder was born in Chicago Heights, Illinois,[5] the son of Albert "Doc" Broder, a dentist,[2] and Nina Salzer Broder.[6]

He earned a bachelor's degree in liberal arts from the University of Chicago in 1947 and continued his studies there, receiving a master's degree in political science in 1951. While at Chicago, he met fellow student Ann Creighton Collar, and they were married in Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 1951. They had four sons and seven grandchildren.[2]

Journalism career

Early years

He began working as a journalist while pursuing his master's degree, serving as editor of The Chicago Maroon[7] and later at the Hyde Park Herald.[8] He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1951, where he wrote for the newspaper U.S. Forces Austria (USFA) Sentinel, until he was discharged from the Army in 1953.

In 1953 Broder reported for the Pantagraph newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois, covering Livingston and Woodford counties in the central part of the state. From there he moved to the Congressional Quarterly in Washington D.C., in 1955, where he apprenticed under senior reporter Helen Monberg and got his first taste of covering congressional politics. During his four-and-a-half years at CQ, Broder also worked for The New York Times as a freelance writer.

In 1960 Broder joined the Washington Star as a junior political writer covering the presidential election that year between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. During his five years at the Star, he was promoted to national political news reporter and was a weekly contributor to the paper's op-ed page.

Broder left the Star for The New York Times in 1965, hired by well-known Times political reporter and columnist Tom Wicker to serve in its Washington bureau.

Washington Post columnist

After 18 months at The Times, Broder moved to The Washington Post, where he would remain for over 40 years, beginning as a reporter and weekly op-ed contributor. Later, he was given a second weekly column. Broder's columns were distributed initially through The Washington Post Wire Service and then later syndicated through The Washington Post Writers Group. His columns were carried by more than 300 newspapers for many years.

The longtime columnist was informally known as the dean of the Washington press corps and the "unofficial chairman of the board" by national political writers.[9][10][11]

In May 2008, Broder accepted a buyout offer from The Washington Post Co., effective January 1, 2009,[12] but continued to write his twice-weekly Post column as a contract employee. In a letter to the publications that ran his column, Broder said: "This change will allow me to focus entirely on the column, while freeing up the Post to use its budget for other news-section salaries and expenses."[12]

In June 2008, Ken Silverstein, a columnist at Harper's magazine alleged that Broder had accepted free accommodations and thousands of dollars in speaking fees from various business and healthcare groups, in one instance penning an opinion column supporting positions favored by one of the groups.[13] Deborah Howell, The Washington Post's ombudsman at the time, wrote that Broder's acceptance of speaking fees appeared to be a violation of the paper's policy on outside speeches, as was the fact that some of the groups that paid Broder also lobby Congress.[14] Howell pointed out that Broder said "he had cleared his speeches with Milton Coleman, deputy managing editor, or Tom Wilkinson, an assistant managing editor, but neither remembered him mentioning them."

Pulitzer Prize

Broder won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1973 and was the recipient of numerous awards and academic honors before and after. In his Pulitzer Prize acceptance speech, Broder said:

Instead of promising "All the News That's Fit to Print," I would like to see us say—over and over, until the point has been made—that the newspaper that drops on your doorstep is a partial, hasty, incomplete, inevitably somewhat flawed and inaccurate rendering of some of the things we have heard about in the past 24 hours—distorted, despite our best efforts to eliminate gross bias, by the very process of compression that makes it possible for you to lift it from the doorstep and read it in about an hour. If we labeled the product accurately, then we could immediately add: But it's the best we could do under the circumstances, and we will be back tomorrow with a corrected and updated version.[15]

Meet the Press and other broadcast media

For many years Broder appeared on Washington Week, Meet the Press, and other network television and radio[16] news programs. It was announced at the close of the August 10, 2008, broadcast of Meet the Press that Broder was celebrating his 400th appearance on that program, on which he first appeared July 7, 1963. He appeared far more often than any other person, other than the program's panelists. The next closest person to Broder was Bob Novak, who had appeared on Meet the Press fewer than 250 times.

Broder was a weekly guest on XM/Sirius Satellite Radio's The Bob Edwards Show starting in October 2004. On the premiere broadcast, Broder was joined by CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite as the program's first guests. Broder also contributed to The Bob Edwards Show as a political commentator.[citation needed]

Lecturer and author

In 2001 Broder became a lecturer at the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism while continuing to write full-time at The Washington Post. He generally lectured one class a year on politics and the press, the class meeting at the newspaper. Merrill College Dean Thomas Kunkel described Broder as the nation's "most respected political journalist" when he announced Broder's hire. Broder has also lectured at Duke University (1987–88).[17]

He is author or co-author of eight books:


Broder died of complications from diabetes on March 9, 2011, at the age of 81.[2][18]


Broder was called "relentlessly centrist" by The New Yorker's political commentator Hendrik Hertzberg.[19] Frank Rich of The New York Times often described Broder as the nation's "bloviator in chief."[20]

While on vacation, Broder would write his column from his retreat on Beaver Island, Michigan. Writing in Slate.com, Timothy Noah found Broder’s attempts to merge national affairs with summertime reflections to be “always mind-bendingly dull.” In Washington City Paper, Jack Shafer felt that Border managed to merge “the cosmic and common in a stupefying slop of prose.”[21]

Depictions in popular culture

He earned a mention in two books chronicling the media's coverage of the 1972 presidential campaign between Richard Nixon and George McGovern, including Timothy Crouse's The Boys on the Bus[22] and Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72.[23]

Broder's work was also cited in two autobiographies by key figures in the history of The Washington Post: Personal History[24] by Post publisher Katharine Graham in 1997 and A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures[25] by Post executive editor Ben Bradlee in 1995. More recently, Broder was included in former Post columnist Dave Kindred's 2010 book on the paper's struggles in the changing media landscape: Morning Miracle: A Great Newspaper Fights for Its Life.[26] Broder is also mentioned in Bill Clinton's biography First in His Class[27] by David Maraniss.

Broder earned a place in a work of fiction, meriting a mention by a White House senior staffer to fictional U.S. president Jed Bartlet (portrayed by actor Martin Sheen) on the NBC-TV series The West Wing.[28]


The left wing blogger Atrios, a frequent critic of Broder's work, has coined the term High Broderism:[29]

We normally think of "High Broderism" as the worship of bipartisanship for its own sake, combined with a fake "pox on both their houses" attitude. But in reality this is just the cover Broder uses for his real agenda, the defense of what he perceives to be "the establishment" at all costs.

This expression has found some currency online.

Awards and recognition

  • Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, 1973
  • 4th Estate Award from the National Press Club,[30] 1988
  • White Burkett Miller Presidential Award in 1989
  • Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award[31](Colby College), 1990
  • National Press Foundation's Distinguished Contributions to Journalism Award, 1992
  • Illinois State Society Distinguished Illinoisans Award,[32] 1997
  • National Society of Newspaper Columnists Lifetime Achievement Award, 1997[33]
  • William Allen White Foundation's Award for Distinguished Achievement in Journalism,[34] 1997
  • Honorary Doctor of Political Science, DePauw University, May 18, 2003
  • Washingtonian Magazine's 50 Best Journalists,[35] 2005
  • University of Chicago Alumni Medal,[36] June 2005
  • Jefferson-Lincoln Award, Panetta Institute for Public Policy,[37] 2007
  • Washingtonian Magazine's 50 Best Journalists[38] 2009

Honorary degrees


  1. "Broder, David". Current Biography Yearbook 2010. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson. 2010. pp. 70–74. ISBN 9780824211134.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Bernstein, Adam (March 9, 2011). "David Broder dies; Pulitzer-winning Washington Post political columnist". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 9, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Statement by the President on the Passing of David Broder". The White House. March 9, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Political columnist David Broder dead at 81". CNN. March 9, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Washington Post biography.
  6. Candeloro, Dominic; Barbara Paul (November 2004). Chicago Heights: At the Crossroads of the Nation. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-2470-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. David Broder Alumni Medal
  8. New Editor at Hyde Park Herald
  9. DePauw University. News, April 11, 2003.
  10. PBS: Washington Week biography at the Wayback Machine (archived August 14, 2001).
  11. Greenwald, Glenn. Salon, June 7, 2008
  12. 12.0 12.1 "The Politico" May 5, 2008
  13. Ken Silverstein, Harper's, June 12, 2008
  14. Deborah Howell, Washington Post, June 22, 2008.
  15. Kindred, Dave (2010). Morning Miracle: Inside the Washington Post A Great Newspaper Fights for Its Life. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-52356-4
  16. "David Broder interview". Larry King Show. C-SPAN.org.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. University of Maryland. "Washington Post's David Broder to Join Maryland Journalism Faculty," February 1, 2001.
  18. "Political columnist David S. Broder dies". MSNBC. March 9, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Hertzberg, Hendrik The New Yorker, August 14, 2006.
  20. "The Politico," December 19, 2007
  21. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/chatterbox/2005/09/summerhouse_lit_part_2.html
  22. Crouse, Timothy (2003). The Boys on the Bus. Random House Trade Paperbacks. ISBN 0-8129-6820-4
  23. Thompson S., Hunter (1973). Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72. Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-31268-1
  24. Graham, Katharine (1997). Personal History. Weindenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-81964-X
  25. Bradlee, Ben (1995). A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-684-80894-3
  26. Kindred, Dave (2010) Morning Miracle: A Great Newspaper Fights for Its Life. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-52356-4
  27. Maraniss, David (1995). First in His Class. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-87109-9
  28. The West Wing
  29. More Broder Eschaton
  30. National Press Club
  31. Colby College
  32. Illinois State Society
  33. DePauw University News, ibid.
  34. William Allen White Foundation
  35. Washingtonian Magazine
  36. "Members of alumni community will be honored for service"
  37. Panetta Institute
  38. Washingtonian Magazine
  39. Cleveland State University
  40. Wittenberg University
  41. Yale University
  42. Kalamazoo College
  43. Rider University
  44. Lawrence University
  45. University of Michigan
  46. College of William & Mary
  47. University of Miami
  48. “Muhlenberg To Award Five Honorary Degrees Political Writer David S. Broder, Valley’s Lee A. Butz Among Recipients.”
  49. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_s5f7mlKZQ
  50. Boston Globe Commencements[dead link]
  51. Bryant University
  52. Ball State University
  53. Santa Clara University
  54. Bradley University Bradley University

External links