Thursday, March 10, 2011

David Broder (1929-2011)

Now is not the time to rehash all the old points about David Broder's inside-the-Beltway centrist hackery. The so-called "dean of the Washington press corps" died yesterday at the age of 81. And that's sad no matter what you thought of him.

I've written numerous posts on Broder, all of them extensively critical. For example:

-- "The bungling of Broder" (April 2007);
-- "David Broder, idiotic dramatist" (April 2008); 
-- "David Broder calls for 'showdown' with Iran" (November 2010).

Needless to say, I didn't much care for his work, whether it was his column in The Washington Post or his many appearances on the Washington talk-show circuit, particularly Meet the Press. (See also Creature's posts, "Apples and oranges" (August 2008), "It takes a village to cover up crimes" (September 2009), and "Not a pox on both houses (April 2010).)

Still, he was by all accounts, or at least by the accounts of other Beltway insiders, a hugely well-respected and indeed towering figure, an excellent reporter and political correspondent, and a good and decent man. And he obviously, in terms of his work, he had his finger on the pulse of something. I rarely found him convincing, but he was clearly an extremely important commentator and pundit.

On this, I agree with my friend Steve Benen:

Regular readers know that I was often critical of Broder's columns, but my critiques were driven in part by high expectations -- the man was a giant of political journalism.

And even when I disagreed with his analysis, it was impossible not to respect his tenacity and his decency.

Best wishes go out to his family and friends.

Even to those of us who didn't know him at all, and, yes, even to those of us who were deeply critical of his work, his death is a huge loss.

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