CLEARING THE AIR by Daniel Schorr
Kirkus Star

CLEARING THE AIR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Former CBS-TV correspondent Daniel Schorr, ""suspended"" (read ousted) from his network news job and subpoenaed by the House Ethics Committee for making public the suppressed Pike report on covert Intelligence operations, voices his apprehension that the Watergate/CIA revelations may have created a kind of secrecy backlash in Congress and the country. There is, argues Schorr in this dignified account of his fall from corporate grace, a kind of disclosuresecrecy pendulum operating in the nation; despite continued CIA revelations, the pendulum may have begun to swing away from disclosure, at least in some quarters, at the very moment of Nixon's abdication speech. Schorr (once among the Top Twenty on Nixon's ""enemies"" list), notes his own chagrin at the way his fellow-commentators ""soft-pedalled"" their analyses of that lame speech, and his sharp disagreement with the ""nation-healing"" approach. After Watergate, Schorr's assignment shifted and he became more and more deeply immersed in the machinations of Helms' CIA and the phantasmagoric plots hatched there to kill Castro (one involved poisoned cigars, another utilized TB-infected diving suits); he began to wonder whether such dangerous fantasies may not have come home to roost in Dallas. It is not an allegation, only a suspicion, but no less disturbing for that. His own disagreements with CBS, ever-attuned to FCC pressures and the views of its affiliates, grow more pronounced until the realization comes that ""CBS executives had been backing away from the Pike report as though it were the plague. . . as though I were a plague carrier."" The hints of corporate news-juggling lead Schorr, months after his severance from the network, into the boardroom to study Paley's CBS--a subject almost as worthy of investigative journalism as Nixon's White House or Helms' CIA. Withal, Schorr relates his story with minimal personal rancor--its net effect extending far beyond self-vindication.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1977
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin