Monday, December 19, 2005

I have a brand new, long reported out column and appreciation of the columnist and muckraker Jack Anderson posted tonight at the Village Voice. I worked for Jack when I was still just a kid, when I was 18 and 19 years old. And to anyone who likes anything about my own journalism, many of my wayward journalistic values come from that early, arrested time in my professional development.

The appreciaton is in some part derived from my earlier blog post immediately following my learning of his death. But I have a few additional interesting comments about Jack from Seymour Hersh and, also, from Mark Feldstein, an Anderson protege who is now writing a biography of him for FSG.

A couple of anecdotes from the Voice column:

He always enjoyed a good prank. In his memoirs, "Peace, War, and Politics: An Eyewitness Account", published in 1999, Anderson wrote about how I once called up a notoriously pro-Richard Nixon columnist, Victor Lasky, and impersonated Nixon. Lasky never for a moment doubted that he was talking to the ex-president. What Jack left out of the story was that he put me up to the call in the first place, and that he was listening in on the extension the whole time.

And a better one about Feldstein, who went on becone a great investigative reporter for CNN, and is now a journalism professor at George Washington University:

Still in braces, Feldstein landed an internship with Jack when he was 16 and still in high school. Feldstein had on the tie he had worn to his Bar Mitzvah day as he accompanied Gary Cohn, then another young Anderson reporter, to interview a Congressman. The Congressman called security on them, believing them to be impostors.

While Jack wasn't helping bring down the Nixon presidency, safeguarding democracy from the likes of J. Edgar Hoover and Joe McCarthy, and writing the most widely read political column of his day--he served the public as well by keeping us kids off the streets!

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