- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Howard K. Smith, whose career as a newscaster ranged from World War II as one of "Murrow's Boys" at CBS to roles as co-anchor and analyst for ABC, is dead at age 87.
Mr. Smith died of pneumonia aggravated by congestive heart failure on Friday evening at his home in Bethesda, his son, Jack, said yesterday.
ABC News President David Westin called Mr. Smith "a passionate newsman who for nearly 40 years was one of the country's most distinguished broadcasters. He was outspoken, sometimes controversial and never afraid of taking on the powerful."
Although out of the public eye for nearly a quarter-century, Mr. Smith was a broadcasting pioneer and, from television's infancy, a presence on the air.
Along the way, he made at least two appearances of lasting effect even beyond the journalistic.
In 1960, he served as the moderator of the first Kennedy-Nixon presidential debate, a seminal TV event generally thought to have played a decisive role in Kennedy's election.
Mr. Smith also is memorialized in Robert Altman's 1975 political satire "Nashville," in which Mr. Smith portrayed himself as a broadcast commentator covering the presidential campaign of the never-glimpsed candidate Hal Phillip Walker.
Howard Kingsbury Smith was born May 12, 1914, in Ferriday, La., and, after attending Tulane University, began his years as a foreign correspondent working for United Press in Copenhagen and Berlin.
In 1941 he joined CBS News as a member of the team assembled by the legendary Edward R. Murrow during World War II, and in 1946 succeeded Murrow as CBS' London correspondent. He covered Europe and the Middle East for CBS until 1957, when he came to Washington as a correspondent and commentator on the network's nightly TV newscast.
With the civil rights struggle heating up, Mr. Smith narrated a 1961 documentary, "Who Speaks for Birmingham?," in which he quoted Edmund Burke's observation that "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." When the quote was deemed "editorializing" by his bosses and cut from the program, Mr. Smith resigned from the network.
Joining ABC News soon afterward, Mr. Smith served as a correspondent and anchored several series, including the respected mid-1960s documentary program "Scope," which focused on the Vietnam War.
In 1969 he became co-anchor with Frank Reynolds of "The ABC Evening News," then two years later was joined at the ABC anchor desk by his former CBS colleague Harry Reasoner.
In l975 Mr. Smith gave up his co-anchor role but continued as a political commentator. Four years later, after denouncing a flashy four-anchor evening news format that uncomfortably married Mr. Reynolds, Peter Jennings, Barbara Walters and Max Robinson, Mr. Smith retired.

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