- The Washington Times - Friday, June 21, 2002

A party in honor of Daniel Pearl on Tuesday night drew Washington's "A-list" crowd of politicos, socialites and journalists, a grouping, friends joked, the slain journalist would have shunned when he was alive.

"He was deeply skeptical of people in Washington doing the right thing," said Gerald Seib, Washington bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal. "He would have been surprised that so many A-list people showed up to do the right thing."

Washington's finest "dug deep," as host Beth Dozoretz said, to celebrate a working journalist and attempt to make something good come out of the brutal act that took his life. The Wall Street Journal reporter was lured to his death in Pakistan early this year.

A foundation was created to promote journalism and music two of Mr. Pearl's passions.

That is what brought businessmen Mark Ein, Greg Earls and Jonathan Ledecky to mix and mingle with officials from administrations past Mandy Grunwald, Ken Duberstein and Jamie S. Gorelick and philanthropists and socialites such as Catherine T. Reynolds and Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn and, of course, political pundits, including Norm Ornstein.

Many journalists, whether they knew Mr. Pearl or not, coughed up the $500 for the fund-raiser, which organizers said raised more than $150,000.

"I never met him," CNN's Wolf Blitzer said. "But for the grace of God, it could have been any of us."

Barbara Cochran, president of the Radio and Television News Directors Association, attended with her husband, ABC News correspondent John Cochran, saying that "we all felt that we knew him."

"There is a sense that what happened to him galvanized journalists' sense of their own profession we want to believe that the work we do is important service," she said.

"How could you not come to this?" Mr. Cochran asked.

Even former President Bill Clinton, an honorary board member of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, dropped in to support the organization's first fund-raiser, though he had little to say to on-duty reporters. A handler told journalists it was "inappropriate" for the press to ask questions of the former president at a party honoring a slain journalist.

Instead, Mr. Clinton shook hands, posed for pictures with children and bought a book, "At Home in the World," a collection of works by Mr. Pearl.

One observer quipped that the former president "has nine million reasons this week not to be speaking to the press," referring to the $9 million Mr. Clinton reportedly earned in the past year from speaking engagements.

"It is so important to support the foundation and the work it will do in [Mr. Pearls] honor," she said.

The Clintons had stopped by a baby-naming ceremony for the child of Democratic pollster Mark Penn and Nancy Jacobson and had driven past protesters supporting the Palestine Liberation Organization before arriving at the party, held at the Northwest home of Clinton friends Beth and Ronald Dozoretz.

Alas, they were soon gone, and the party went back to the business at hand honoring "Danny."

"My family and I have had the worst time the past few months," said Judea Pearl, Daniel Pearl's father. "Bad things can happen, but we also can see if good things can come out of it. The terrorists got what they wanted they inflicted pain and humiliation on the U.S. But this enterprise that lends Danny's banner to various causes will enable humanity to defend itself."

"I will be able to tell [grandson] Adam, 'See, that's what good came out of all this.'"

Many of Mr. Pearl's former colleagues attended the fund-raiser. Journalist Al Hunt, who brought Mr. Pearl to Washington for the Wall Street Journal, said the turnout for the event about 200 people was fantastic. "It's nice to know so many care," he said.

New York Times Washington Bureau Chief Jill Abramson, who supervised Mr. Pearl at the Wall Street Journal, joked that "Danny would have laughed" at the highbrow party.

"I had a hard time dragging him to A-list parties when we worked together," she said. "I had to promise him that we would go to duckpin bowling and get greasy burgers and beer afterward."


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