Accolades poured in Tuesday following the news that former Washington Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee had died. Bradlee, 93, had been in declining health for months and had been in hospice care since Sept. 29.
Donald Graham, former publisher of the Washington Post and chairman of Graham Holdings, formerly the Washington Post Co., wrote a column lauding Bradlee. "We felt he could make anything possible," Graham said.
Chris Cillizza, the Post's editor of The Fix and a contributor on MSNBC, tweeted if you look up "bad ass" in the dictionary, "there's a picture of Ben Bradlee staring back at you."
In a column in the Post, Cillizza said Bradlee's best trait was "swagger."
"[T]rue swagger -- a supreme confidence in your own abilities and the knowledge that, well, you've got this -- is actually a very rare thing. And rarer still are people who don't just think they possess it, but actually do," Cillizza wrote.
Bradlee's secretary was apparently a match for her boss.
â€” Andrew Dalton (@andyjamesdalton) October 22, 2014
President Obama said that for Bradlee, "journalism was more than a profession -- it was a public good vital to our democracy. The standard he set – a standard for honest, objective, meticulous reporting – encouraged so many others to enter the profession," the president said. "Today, we offer our thoughts and prayers to Ben’s family, and all who were fortunate to share in what truly was a good life."
In bestowing the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Bradlee last November, Obama said the editor had transformed the Post "into one of the finest [newspapers] in the world."
“And with Ben in charge, the Post published the Pentagon Papers, revealing the true history of America’s involvement in Vietnam, exposed Watergate, unleashed a new era of investigative journalism, holding America’s leaders accountable and reminding us that our freedom as a nation rests on our freedom of the press,” Obama said in recalling Bradlee's legacy.
Political strategist David Axelrod said Bradlee "will live forever, immortalized for the courage he showed at one of America's darkest hours."
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called Bradlee "a giant."
The world of journalism has lost a giant tonight with the passing of Ben Bradlee. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
â€” Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) October 22, 2014
Mark Leibovich, a former Post reporter, said Bradlee was the "embodiment of the newsman who had impact."
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of Watergate reporting fame called Bradlee "a true friend and genius leader in journalism," pointer.org reported. "His one unbending principle was the quest for the truth and the necessity of that pursuit. He had the courage of an army," the pair said.
— Poynter (@Poynter) October 22, 2014
Christopher Stewart, senior special writer at the Wall Street Journal, said Bradlee had a special name for what he considered a dull story.
"A bad story was “mego” — the acronym for “my eyes glaze over” — applied to anything that bored him." http://t.co/Ym6fRt6UOL
â€” Christopher Stewart (@csstewart) October 22, 2014
"Family Guy" writer David Goodman called Bradlee "a journalist from the age when there were journalists."
Media organizations like the Society of Professional Journalists also mourned Bradlee's passing.
On behalf of SPJ, we are sad to hear of Ben Bradlee's passing. Our thoughts are with his family tonight. He was a legend. @spj_tweets
â€” Dana Neuts (@SPJDana) October 22, 2014
And many journalists quoted one of his famous journalistic rules:
— Sara Blumberg (@sarafromABC2) October 22, 2014