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October 9, 2015

Joseph Wershba, TV News Pioneer, Dies Aged 90

by Catherine Lawson, posted May 17th 2011 6:45AM
Joseph WershbaTV news pioneer Joseph Wershba, an Emmy-winning CBS News producer and reporter, whose work helped to bring the McCarthy witch hunts to an end, has died at the age of 90.

The Associated Press reports that Wershba, who was one of the original '60 Minutes' producers, died at his home at Long Island, New York of complications from pneumonia.

In a statement, CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager said, "Joe Wershba was a wonderful man who was a pioneer of broadcast journalism, without the notoriety of his more celebrated colleagues Ed Murrow and Don Hewitt. ... Almost everything he touched became part of the foundation for CBS News, including '60 Minutes.'"

In 1954 Wershba led a report on Sen. McCarthy for Edward R. Murrow's CBS TV news segment, 'See It Now.' The exposé helped discredit McCarthy, and was one of the inspirations for the movie 'Good Night and Good Luck,' in which Wershba was played by Robert Downey, Jr.

Wershba was also Murrow's on-camera reporter and field producer for 1953's 'The Milo Radulovich Story.' Radulovich was a reserve officer discharged by the U.S. Air Force because it believed his family had communist sympathies. His appeal was denied despite the Air Force providing no evidence, but he was reinstated following the CBS investigation.

He won two Emmy awards at '60 Minutes.' One of them, for 'What Happened in Tonkin Gulf,' recognized his 1971 investigation with correspondent Morley Safer into the 1964 naval encounter off the coast of Vietnam. Paying tribute to his former colleague, Safer said "Joe was an old-school reporter and a wonderful travelling companion."

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Has anyone ever heard of The Verona Papers? Released in 1992 by the Soviet Union, these files proved that Senator McCarthy was RIGHT --- there WERE communist spies in positions of trust within the US government. Don't believe me? Look it up in Wikipedia or search for "Verona Papers" on the web.

The media does a great job of destroying people they hate and ideas they disagree with...... not so great a job of admitting their own prejudices and lies or exposing and correcting their mistakes. The most hideously vicious "witch hunting" of the McCarthy Era was, in fact, done by the media -- and sadly, they are still perpetuating their lies.

May 17 2011 at 12:11 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rphill102's comment

Here's the problem rphill102. Many innocent people were caught up in McCarthy's hunt for these spies. Folks from all walks of life had to suffer the indignities of being labeled a Soviet spy and or sympathizer. The effects were felt LONG after the investigations ended as many of these peoples lives changed FOREVER. Many were unable to return to their former jobs, and some went into hiding for years, for fear of being unjustly arrested.

Unlike the media of yesteryear, TODAY'S media does very little investigative reporting. In fact, imho, it does none. Today's media is bought and sold by corporate interests and it's reflective of the outright stupidity that you see on screen. Wershba, and those like him would've gotten the facts behind what's really happened in our society over the last 15 years without apology.

May 17 2011 at 1:44 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to M.K.'s comment

Senator McCarthy didn't "hunt spies." He made ONE speech in which he referred to communist sympathizers and spies in influential positions in the US government -- a speech which the Verona Papers proved was accurate. McCarthy was never involved in the investigations on Capitol Hill. That was done by the **House** Un-American Activities Committee, not the Senate. If you believe the only injury was done to leftists, you're VERY wrong. They just whined the loudest and longest (as usual). Aside from McCarthy himself, many other people were harrassed by the government and harranged by the press. One member of HUAC was Richard Nixon.... and the long-standing hatred of Nixon among liberals and the media -- a direct result of his participation on HUAC -- culminated in the Watergate investigation. No one was "black listed." That whole concept was the dramatic concoction of people in the entertainment industry who -- just like the celebs of today who rush to conclusions before they have the facts and are believed because of their fame instead of their knowledge or veracity -- who used "black listing" to illustrate and protest what *they* perceived as the threat of any investigation of "un-American activities."

Mr. Wershba and those like him weren't able expose the TRUTH back in the 50' -- they attacked McCarthy, Nixon, et al INSTEAD of digging until they got the truth about communist infiltration in DC. What makes you think he and his ilk could do any better now? The press covered up FDR's disability...... and the Kennedy's picadillos. CBS concocted through vicious editing and manipulation of the facts more than one "expose' " on 60 Minutes. Walter Cronkite deliberately LIED about the Tet Offensive, and God only knows what else, in an effort to turn public opinion against the war in VietNam -- and later bragged about it! Dan Rather did more than one "special report" about that war -- and interviewed only the most dis-affected former soldiers he could find, so they would present the war in the most unfavorable light possible. CBS was finally FORCED to get rid of Rather when it became TOO obvious he had deliberately and knowingly constructed a story entirely with unverified "evidence" -- so much so that not even their massive spin machine could get all the crap out.

"The good old days" -- when journalism was pure and righteous -- never existed. Get over it.

May 17 2011 at 6:52 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down


May 17 2011 at 10:51 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Here's to one of the great heroes of Investigative journalism. Rest well, sir. May we all learn from your example.

May 17 2011 at 9:54 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

CBS had some of the best news people in the business. I am glad to see that Scott Pelly will soon take over the ancor job thought it should have happened 3 years ago.

May 17 2011 at 9:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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May 17 2011 at 8:36 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

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