An old-school journalist of the highest order has died this week at the age of 93.
According to the Associated Press, Roger Mudd, who spent decades covering Capitol Hill and various other major current events, died from complications from kidney failure at his home in Virginia on Tuesday.
“A real hero”
His career in journalism began at radio stations across Virginia and the nation’s capital before he joined the CBS News team in 1961. From there, Mudd moved over to NBC in the early 1980s before ending up on the PBS flagship NewsHour program in 1987.
The broadcaster left television altogether for a while as he taught journalism at Princeton University. Most recently, he had become known as a top host and correspondent for the History Channel.
CBS News President Susan Zirinski issued a statement honoring Mudd as “a real hero” in the network’s D.C. bureau.
“He was a journalist of enormous integrity and character,” she added. “He would not budge if he believed he was right and would not compromise his ethical standards. He was an inspiration to all of us in the bureau. On a personal note — I sat directly across from him in the D.C. newsroom — Roger was big, not just in his physical presence but he was larger than life.”
Mudd’s career included many memorable moments, including the simple question he asked then-Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) during the 1980 presidential primary campaign that has been credited with effectively ending a White House bid.
A storied career
The reporter asked the senator: “Why do you want to be president?”
In response, Kennedy offered a rambling word salad that essentially halted all of his momentum in challenging incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter for the party’s nomination.
Among Mudd’s other momentous contributions to journalism was his live coverage of the aftermath of then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s assassination. His award-winning expose revealed the Pentagon’s use of taxpayer funds for public relations purposes to drum up support for the Vietnam War.
Fox News Channel senior political analyst Brit Hume remembered Mudd as someone who “set a standard for savvy professionalism in his coverage of Capitol Hill for CBS News back in its glory days,” adding that he had “tried to emulate him” during his own time at ABC News.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Emma Jeanne Spears Mudd, and is survived by their four adult children, 14 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.