CBS newsman earned Americans' trust
Ed Bradley, 1941 -- 2006 When Ed Bradley first came to prominence as one of the few African Americans on network television in the early 1970s, it wasn't long past the day when the only black faces beamed into American homes were of Aunt Jemima a...
Ed Bradley, 1941 -- 2006
When Ed Bradley first came to prominence as one of the few African Americans on network television in the early 1970s, it wasn't long past the day when the only black faces beamed into American homes were of Aunt Jemima and Amos 'n Andy.
Television and the nation changed, and Bradley, who died of leukemia at 65 Thursday, was a great part of that change. He was, of course, a great journalist by any standard. A war correspondent for CBS, he was wounded while on assignment in Cambodia in 1973, yet volunteered to return to the region to cover the end of the Vietnam War. He was equally tough in less chaotic settings as a "60 Minutes" reporter, charming, rather than badgering the subjects of his investigative pieces into spilling the beans on their own wrongdoing.
"He made people comfortable," CBS colleague Bob Schieffer said on CBS.com, adding Bradley knew everyone from Jimmy Carter to Jimmy Buffett. "He wasn't the bulldog-type reporter like Mike Wallace. He set people at ease and got them to talk. Sometimes that was in their interest and sometimes it wasn't."
That mixture of tenacity, compassion and coolness earned him nearly every accolade of broadcast journalism -- including 19 Emmys, most recently for a piece that contributed to the reopening of the Emmett Till murder case after 50 years. He also earned a place of trust among the viewing public. "For over 40 years, the American people have turned to Ed as a trusted source of information about events that have shaped our nation," President Bush said yesterday, lauding his "distinctive investigative reports that inspired action."
No longer the lone person of color on the small screen, Bradley has inspired a generation of African American journalists and those of all colors who pursue truth to better the world. He will be missed.