Prize-winning columnist David Broder dead at 81


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 - Page 7

David Broder, the prize-winning Washington Post political columnist whose even-handed treatment of Democrats and Republicans set him apart from the ideological warriors on US opinion pages, died on Wednesday. He was 81.

Post officials said Broder died of complications from diabetes.

Broder was familiar to US television viewers as a frequent panelist on NBC television’s Meet the Press program. He appeared on the show more than 400 times, far more than any other journalist in its history.

To newspaper readers, he was one of the US’ most prominent syndicated columnists. A September 2007 study by the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters found that Broder was second among columnists only to conservative George Will in the combined circulation of newspapers in which his column appeared.

He was the only one of the top five that the group did not label as either conservative or liberal.

“His even-handed approach has never wavered. He’d make a good umpire,” wrote Alan Shearer, editorial director of the Washington Post Writers Group, which syndicated Broder’s column.

“Dave is neither left nor right, and can’t even be called reliably centrist. He reports exhaustively and his conclusions are grounded in hard facts,” Shearer said.

US President Barack Obama said Broder “built a well-deserved reputation as the most respected and incisive political commentator of his generation — winning a Pulitzer Prize and earning the affectionate title of dean of the Washington press corps. Through all his success, David remained an eminently kind and gracious person, and someone we will dearly miss.”