- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 18, 2005


Jack Anderson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist who struck fear into the hearts of corrupt or secretive politicians, died yesterday. He was 83.

Mr. Anderson died at his home in Bethesda of complications from Parkinson’s disease, said one of his daughters, Laurie Anderson-Bruch.

Mr. Anderson gave up his syndicated Washington Merry-Go-Round column in July 2004 because he was too ill. He had been hired by the column’s founder, Drew Pearson, in 1947.

The column uncovered a string of big scandals, from Eisenhower assistant Sherman Adams’ taking gifts from a wealthy industrialist in 1958 to the Reagan administration’s secret arms-for-hostages deal with Iran in 1986.

The column appeared in about 1,000 newspapers in its heyday.

Mr. Anderson, a Mormon, is considered one of the fathers of investigative reporting. He was renowned for his tenacity, aggressive techniques and influence in the nation’s capital.

“He was a bridge for the muckrakers of a century ago and the crop that came out of Watergate,” said Mark Feldstein, Mr. Anderson’s biographer and a journalism professor at George Washington University. “He held politicians to a level of accountability in an era where journalists were very deferential to those in power.”

Mr. Anderson won a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for reporting that the Nixon administration secretly tilted toward Pakistan in its war with India. He also published the secret transcripts of the Watergate grand jury.

Such scoops earned him a spot on President Nixon’s “enemies list.”

Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy has described how he and other Nixon political operatives planned ways to silence Mr. Anderson permanently — such as slipping him LSD or staging a fatal car crash — but the White House nixed the idea.

His biggest misstep also occurred in 1972, when he reported that Sen. Thomas Eagleton of Missouri — at the time the Democratic nominee for vice president — had a history of arrests for drunken and reckless driving. Mr. Anderson acknowledged he was incorrect and apologized.

Mr. Anderson began his newspaper career as a 12-year-old writing about scouting activity and community fairs in the outskirts of Salt Lake City. His first investigative article exposed unlawful polygamy in his church. He was a civilian war correspondent during World War II and later, while in the Army, wrote for the military paper Stars and Stripes. Mr. Anderson also wrote more than a dozen books.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1986. In a speech a decade later, he made light of the occasional, uncontrollable shaking the disease caused.

“The doctors tell me it’s Parkinson’s,” Mr. Anderson said. “I suspect that 52 years in Washington caused it.”

He is survived by his wife, Olivia, and nine children.



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