Jack Anderson, 1922 – 2005

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Jack Anderson, the independent columnist who largely invented the modern idea of investigative reporting in Washington, died this weekend at 83.

“A crusader in the mold of muckrakers from a century ago, unbounded by contemporary notions of objectivity, Mr. Anderson was highly successful during the 1950s and 1960s, when few reporters actively sought to uncover government wrongdoing. At one point, his column appeared in about 1,000 newspapers with 45 million daily readers,” the Washington Post writes.

“Jack Anderson, whose investigative column once appeared in more than 1,000 newspapers with 40 million readers, won a Pulitzer Prize and prompted J. Edgar Hoover to call him ‘lower than the regurgitated filth of vultures,’ died [Saturday],” the New York Times obit began. “Mr. Anderson was a flamboyant bridge between the muckrakers of the early decades of the 20th century and the battalions of investigative reporters unleashed by news organizations after Watergate. He relished being called ‘the Paul Revere of journalism’ for his knack for uncovering major stories first almost as much as he enjoyed being at the top of President Richard M. Nixon‘s enemies list.”

> Also: NPR’s obit and the AP’s obit.