Bernard Kalb, a famous print and television journalist, and author who covered many international events throughout a six-decade career has died. He was 100.
The Washington Post reported his death on Sunday, saying Kalb died Jan. 8 at his home in North Bethesda, Maryland, of complications from a fall, according to his younger brother and colleague writer Marvin Kalb.
Kalb, born on February 4, 1922, in New York City, graduated from City College of New York in 1942. He subsequently served in the United States Army before joining The New York Times in 1946 to cover Southeast Asia and, later, the United Nations from New York City.
As a globe-trotting journalist, Kalb moved to television and covered foreign issues for CBS News from Hong Kong in 1962. From there, he proceeded to China to document President Richard Nixon’s landmark cultural opening tour to the Asian country in 1972.
Kalb followed his brother Marvin to NBC News in 1980. In addition, the Kalb brothers worked on an early biography of US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, released in 1974.
Then, in 1984, Kalb joined the Reagan administration as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. However, Kalb’s tenure as a US State Department spokesperson was brief, as he unexpectedly quit in October 1986 after criticizing the Reagan administration’s “disinformation campaign” to depose Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
“You face a choice — as an American, as a spokesman, as a journalist — whether to allow oneself to be absorbed in the ranks of silence, whether to vanish into unopposed acquiescence or to enter a modest dissent,” Kalb said during a State Department news conference announcing his resignation after insisting he had been caught off guard by the covert campaign to depose Gadhafi.
“To have resigned in a such spectacular way can be justified only if it was essential to draw the attention of the American people to some heinous government act,” The Post, which first reported on the misinformation effort, stated of Kalb’s departure in 1986.
He returned to television journalism as a founding co-host of CNN’s Reliable Sources, a position he occupied for most of the 1990s. And, as an expert on US foreign policy and the media, he traveled frequently as a lecturer and moderator in the United States and overseas.
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