Jack Anderson

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Jackson Northman Anderson was a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter. His newspaper column was one of America’s most widely read and at one point appeared in about 1,000 newspapers (with 45 million daily readers). Especially during the 1950s and 1960s, he was valued for uncovering government wrongdoing. He referred to himself as a muckraker.

Anderson was born in Long Beach, California, on October 19, 1922. His family moved to Utah when he was two years old. At age 12, he began editing the Boy Scout page of the Deseret News. He soon began writing articles about fires and traffic accidents for The Murray Eagle. By the age of 18, he secured a reporting job at The Salt Lake Tribune. The next few years of his life included study at the University of Utah, a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Deep South, and enrollment in the Merchant Marine officers training school. After seven months in the Merchant Marines, he convinced the Deseret News to hire him as a foreign correspondent in China. He disliked his assignment to write stories about hometown heroes gone to war, and managed to associate himself with the Office of Strategic Services. The OSS sent him to contact a band of Chinese nationalist guerrillas fighting the Japanese Army.

In 1945, Anderson joined the United States Army in Chungking (Chongqing), China. His assignments included service in the Quartermaster Corps, writing for Stars and Stripes, and reporting for the Armed Forces Radio.

In 1947, he joined the staff of syndicated columnist Drew Pearson, who wrote “Washington Merry-Go-Round.” After Anderson learned in 1954 that Pearson had promised the column to another employee, Anderson secured a job as Washington bureau chief of Parade magazine. When Pearson died in 1969, he left the column to Anderson.

Anderson was also a commentator on ABC-TV’s Good Morning America for nine years. He had a syndicated radio show with the Mutual Broadcasting Network.

It is said that President Richard M. Nixon disliked Anderson and blamed him for his loss of the 1960 presidential election. Nixon ordered the CIA to spy on him. According to Watergate tapes, “a Nixon aide ordered two cohorts to try to kill” him by drugging, poisoning, or mugging.[1] [2]

He won the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for his investigation on secret American policy decision-making between the United States and Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. He is noted for both his breaking coverage and his mistakes and retractions. After his death, the FBI contacted Anderson’s family to obtain his files and search for classified documents. Several months later they gave up their effort to obtain his files.

Anderson married Olivia Farley in 1949. They were the parents of nine children. He died on December 17, 2005, in Bethesda, Maryland, from Parkinson’s disease.