Tom Wicker

Last updated
Tom Wicker
Born
Thomas Grey Wicker

(1926-06-18)June 18, 1926
DiedNovember 25, 2011(2011-11-25) (aged 85)
OccupationJournalist

Thomas Grey Wicker (June 18, 1926 November 25, 2011) was an American journalist. He was a political reporter and columnist for The New York Times .

Contents

Background and education

Wicker was born on June 18, 1926, in Hamlet, North Carolina, to Delancey David, a railroad freight conductor, and Esta Cameron Wicker. He served in the Navy in World War II. Wicker was a 1948 graduate of the University of North Carolina. He won a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University in 1957. In 1993, he returned to Harvard, where he was a fellow at Harvard Kennedy School.

Career

The New York Times

Wicker began working in professional journalism in 1949, as editor of the small-town Sandhill Citizen in Aberdeen, North Carolina. He eventually worked for other newspapers, including The Winston-Salem Journal and The Nashville Tennessean. By the early 1960s, he had joined the New York Times . [1] At the Times, he became well known as a political reporter; among other accomplishments, he wrote the paper's November 23, 1963, lead story of the assassination of President Kennedy, having ridden in a press bus in the Dallas motorcade that accompanied Kennedy. Wicker was a shrewd observer of the Washington, D.C. scene. In that capacity, his influential "In The Nation" column ran in the Times from 1966 through his retirement in 1991. In an exit-interview Q & A with fellow Times reporter R. W. Apple, he reflected on one primary lesson of his years in the capital. Apple asked whether Wicker had "any heroes" in political life.

I think it tends to work the other way. Which doesn't mean that I look at all those people with contempt—quite the opposite. But the journalist's perspective makes you see the feet of clay and the warts, and that's a good thing. I found them in many cases to be truly engaging human beings and admirable persons but not really, in the long run, impeccable heroes, or even just heroes without the "impeccable." We should try to see people as clearly as we can. Then if a hero does come into view, why, we can give him his due. [1]

Books

External videos
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Booknotes interview with Wicker on One of Us: Richard Nixon and the American Dream, April 7, 1991, C-SPAN

Wicker wrote many different books throughout his life. He is the author of several books about U.S. presidents including:

Other works Wicker penned include:

In addition, Wicker penned three standalone detective novels under the pseudonym “Paul Connolly”: [2]

Politics

Wicker's work earned him a place on the master list of Nixon political opponents. He wrote the essay on Richard Nixon for the book Character Above All: Ten Presidents from FDR to George Bush (1995). Wicker was mentioned in a 60 Minutes report from the 1970s which detailed how, along with other journalists and members of Congress who supported desegregation busing, Wicker and the others nevertheless sent their children to DC private schools. [4]

NSA monitoring of Wicker's communications

In a secret operation code-named "Project MINARET," the National Security Agency (NSA) monitored the communications of leading Americans, including Wicker and other prominent U.S. journalists, Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, such civil rights leaders as Martin Luther King Jr., and prominent U.S. athletes who criticized the U.S. war in Vietnam. [5] A review by NSA of the NSA's Minaret program concluded that Minaret was "disreputable if not outright illegal." [5]

Death

Wicker died from an apparent heart attack, on November 25, 2011, at the age of 85. [6]


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1968 United States presidential election</span> 46th quadrennial U.S. presidential election

The 1968 United States presidential election was the 46th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 5, 1968. The Republican nominee, former vice president Richard Nixon, defeated both the Democratic nominee, incumbent vice president Hubert Humphrey, and the American Independent Party nominee, former Alabama governor George Wallace. This was the last election until 1988 in which the incumbent president was not on the ballot. This was also the last election where a third-party candidate received an electoral vote.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ben Bradlee</span> Executive editor of The Washington Post from 1968 to 1991

Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee was an American journalist who served as managing editor and later as executive editor of The Washington Post, from 1965 to 1991. He became a public figure when the Post joined The New York Times in publishing the Pentagon Papers and gave the go-ahead for the paper's extensive coverage of the Watergate scandal in the 1970s. He was also criticized for editorial lapses when the Post had to return a Pulitzer Prize in 1981 after it discovered that its award-winning story was false.

Jay Anthony Lukas was an American journalist and author, best known for his 1985 book Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families. Common Ground is a classic study of race relations, class conflict, and school busing in Boston, Massachusetts, as seen through the eyes of three families: one upper-middle-class white, one working-class white, and one working-class African-American.

William Joseph Kennedy is an American writer and journalist who won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for his 1983 novel Ironweed.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Reston</span> American journalist and newspaper editor (1909–1995)

James Barrett Reston, nicknamed "Scotty", was an American journalist whose career spanned the mid-1930s to the early 1990s. He was associated for many years with The New York Times.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Project MINARET</span> National Security Agency surveillance operation

Project MINARET was a domestic espionage project operated by the National Security Agency (NSA), which, after intercepting electronic communications that contained the names of predesignated US citizens, passed them to other government law enforcement and intelligence organizations. Intercepted messages were disseminated to the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), and the Department of Defense. The project was a sister project to Project SHAMROCK.

Greg Mitchell is an American author and journalist. He has written twelve non-fiction books on United States politics and history of the 20th and 21st centuries. He has also written and directed three film documentaries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sander Vanocur</span> American journalist (1928–2019)

Sander Vanocur was an American television journalist who focused on U.S. national electoral politics, primarily for NBC News and ABC News.

Tom Rosenstiel is an American author, journalist, press critic, researcher and academic. He is the Eleanor Merrill Visiting Professor on the Future of Journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. He was for the previous nine years the executive director of the American Press Institute. He is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Rosenstiel was founder and for 16 years director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ), a research organization that studies the news media and is part of the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. His first novel, Shining City, was published by Ecco of HarperCollins in February 2017 and his second, "The Good Lie," in 2019.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jules Witcover</span> American journalist

Jules Joseph Witcover is an American journalist, author, and columnist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">United States news media and the Vietnam War</span> The role of the news media in the perception of the Vietnam war among the American people

The role of the media in the perception of the Vietnam War has been widely noted. Intense levels of graphic news coverage correlated with dramatic shifts of public opinion regarding the conflict, and there is controversy over what effect journalism had on support or opposition to the war, as well as the decisions that policymakers made in response.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Herbers</span> American journalist

John N. Herbers was an American journalist, author, editor, World War II veteran, and Pulitzer Prize finalist.

Theodore Harold White was an American political journalist and historian, known for his reporting from China during World War II and the Making of the President series.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles Duhigg</span> American journalist and author

Charles Duhigg is an American journalist and non-fiction author. He was a reporter for The New York Times, currently writes for The New Yorker Magazine and is the author of three books on habits and productivity, titled The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Smarter Faster Better and Supercommunicators: How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection. In 2013, Duhigg was the recipient, as part of a team of New York Times reporters, of the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for a series of ten articles on the business practices of Apple and other technology companies.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Les Whitten</span> American novelist

Les Whitten was an American investigative reporter at the Washington Merry-Go-Round under Jack Anderson, as well as translator of French poetry by Baudelaire and influential novelist of horror and science fiction books.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scott Shane</span> American journalist (born 1954)

Scott Shane is an American journalist and author, currently employed by The New York Times, reporting principally about the United States intelligence community. In 2023, his nonfiction book Flee North: A Forgotten Hero and the Fight for Freedom in Slavery's Borderland was published by Celadon Books.

The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy is a Harvard Kennedy School research center that explores the intersection and impact of media, politics and public policy in theory and practice.

A Reporter's Life by Walter Cronkite was published by Ballantine Books on October 28, 1997. The 384-page memoir chronicles Cronkite's decades of reporting, focusing on his experiences with D-Day, the Civil Rights Movement, the John Kennedy assassination, NASA's first crewed Moon landing and Moon walk, freedom movements in South Africa and much more. It includes personal accounts of his interactions with presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Richard Nixon.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Edward T. Folliard</span> American journalist

Edward Thomas Folliard was an American journalist. He spent most of his career at The Washington Post, for which he covered the White House from the presidency of Calvin Coolidge to that of Lyndon B. Johnson. He had friendly relations with both Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower that continued beyond those men's presidencies.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Superman Comes to the Supermarket</span> Essay by Norman Mailer

"Superman Comes to the Supermarket" is an essay by the American novelist and journalist Norman Mailer about the 1960 Democratic convention. Originally published in Esquire as "Superman Comes to the Supermart," this essay was Mailer's initial foray into political journalism. It characterizes John F. Kennedy as a potential "existential hero" who could revitalize the US after eight years under Dwight D. Eisenhower to rediscover its lost imagination. "Superman" further develops and emphasizes Mailer's concern with the importance of the individual's will and creativity that must challenge conformity and obedience in American life to fully realize a genuine life. With "Superman", Mailer extends New Journalism by taking an active role in the narrative, which would characterize much of his subsequent journalistic style and lead to his Pulitzer Prize for The Armies of the Night in 1968.

References

  1. 1 2 Apple, R. W. (January 5, 1992). "Opinions Considered: A Talk With Tom Wicker". The New York Times.
  2. Steelman, Ben. "Tom Wicker, RIP." Star News Online, November 28, 2011.
  3. Simon, Tom. "Tear Are for Angels." Paperback Warrior, January 21, 2019.
  4. Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s . New York, New York: Basic Books. p.  264. ISBN   0-465-04195-7.
  5. 1 2 The Guardian, 26 Sept. 2013, "Declassified NSA Files Show Agency Spied on Muhammad Ali and MLK"
  6. McFadden, Robert D. (November 25, 2011). "Tom Wicker, Journalist and Observer, Dies at 85". The New York Times. p. D8.