David Broder, the Pulitzer Prize winner from the Washington Post whose syndicated column appeared on this page and in The Chattanooga Times for years, and who was so eminently fair in his writing that one prominent media watchdog group found it impossible to label him as either a conservative or a liberal, died on Wednesday. He was 81.
Broder, born in 1929, began his journalism career in Illinois and worked for Congressional Quarterly, the Washington Star and the New York Times before joining the Post. His work there set a standard for fairness that both Democrats and Republicans appreciated and praised. President Barack Obama said Wednesday that Broder “built a well-deserved reputation as the most respected and incisive political commentator of his generation. Through all his success, David remained an eminently kind and gracious person, and someone we will dearly miss.”
Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House, said that Broder “set the standard for modern political reporting and analysis. ... Everyone who cares about self-government owes a debt to David.”
Though his column was widely syndicated— second at one time only to George Will in the combined circulation of newspapers in which his column was printed — Broder also won a large following for his commentary on television. He appeared as a panelist on the venerable “Meet the Press” more than 400 times — more than any other journalist in the show’s distinguished history.
Broder, who won his Pulitzer for columns written in 1972, was a reporter as well as columnist. He continued to do the former long after his columns became a staple on so many of the nation’s editorial and op-ed pages. He was a consummate journalist of rock-solid integrity. He and his insight will be missed by those who knew him directly and by those who came to know and appreciate him through his work.