Bernard Kalb, former CBS News reporter, dies at age 100

Bernard Kalb, a veteran correspondent and former CBS News journalist, died Sunday, his daughter confirmed to CBS News. He was 100.

A statement from Kalb’s family called him the “ultimate reporter” who had “boundless curiosity and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.”

Bernard Kalb in CBS Newsroom, 1972
Bernard Kalb in CBS Newsroom. Picture dated 15 June 1972.

CBS News Archive/Getty Images


“Above all, he was a person of impeccable integrity who embraced people and cultures around the world and loved his family deeply,” the statement continued. “We have lost a journalistic giant. We will miss him tremendously.”

Kalb’s younger brother, Marvin Kalb, another former CBS News reporter, told The Washington Post that Kalb died at his suburban Washington home after complications from a fall.

During his journalistic career, which spanned six decades, Kalb worked at CBS News from 1962 to 1980, accompanying former President Richard Nixon to China during his historic trip in 1972. Kalb was also responsible for the opening of CBS News’ Hong Kong bureau in 1972, was a Washington anchorman on the “CBS Morning News” and was well regarded for his reporting on Southeast Asian affairs.

Portrait of the Kalb brothers in the CBS Newsroom
Portrait of American journalists and brothers Bernard Kalb (left) and Marvin Kalb posing in front of a wall of electronic equipment, November 5, 1969.

CBS News Archive/Getty Images


Kalb also co-authored two books with his brother – a biography of Henry Kissinger, and another a novel about the fall of Saigon.

In addition to his prolific news career, Kalb is also known for a brief tenure at the US State Department. In announcing his new role at the State Department in 1984, the New York Times called him “a widely traveled foreign correspondent,” who covered the office for eight years—through five secretaries of state—before being named its spokesman.

“This is the first time that a journalist who covered the State Department has been named as the spokesman,” the Times wrote.

Kalb publicly resigned in 1986, following a disinformation campaign following US airstrikes that had hit Moammar Gaddafi’s compound earlier in the year. The Washington Post exposed the campaign and reported that the United States had leaked false information to journalists, which Kalb knew nothing about, according to The Associated Press.

State Department spokesman Bernard Kalb in 1986
State Dept. Spokesman Bernard Kalb RE: 1986 Haiti election.

Cynthia Johnson/Getty Images


“I’m concerned about the impact of such a program on the credibility of the United States,” Kalb said, adding, “Anything that hurts America’s credibility hurts America.”

He later returned to journalism, becoming the first host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources” in 1992.

He is survived by his wife, Phyllis, and his four daughters, Tanah, Marina, Claudia and Sarinah, according to The Associated Press.

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