Bernard Kalb

Bernard Kalb (February 4, 1922 – January 8, 2023) was an American journalist, moderator, media critic, lecturer, and author.

Bernard Kalb
Bernard Kalb (cropped).jpg
Kalb, c. 1985
Born(1922-02-04)February 4, 1922
DiedJanuary 8, 2023(2023-01-08) (aged 100)
Alma mater
  • Journalist
  • moderator
  • media critic
  • lecturer
  • author
SpousePhyllis Bernstein
RelativesMarvin Kalb (brother)

Early life and educationEdit

Kalb was born in New York City on February 4, 1922,[1] the son of Bella (Portnoy) and Max Kalb. His father was a Polish Jewish immigrant and his mother was a Ukrainian Jew.[2][3] He graduated from the City College of New York with a B.S.S. and later received an M.A. from Harvard University.[4]


Kalb covered international affairs for more than three decades at CBS News, NBC News, and The New York Times. For nearly half of that time he was abroad, based in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Paris, and Saigon.

Near the end of his tenure at the Times, Kalb received a fellowship from the Council on Foreign Relations—awarded annually to a foreign correspondent—and took a leave from the newspaper for a year.[citation needed]

Bernard Kalb and his younger brother, journalist Marvin Kalb, traveled extensively with Henry Kissinger on diplomatic missions and they later wrote a biography titled Kissinger. The brothers also co-authored The Last Ambassador, a novel about the collapse of Saigon in 1975.[5]

In 1984, Kalb was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and spokesman for the U.S. State Department. It was the first time that a journalist who covered the State Department had been named as its spokesperson.[6]

Kalb quit this post two years later to protest what he called "the reported disinformation program" conducted by the Reagan Administration against the Libyan leader Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi.[7] Kalb said, "you face a choice, as an American, as a spokesman, as a journalist, whether to allow oneself to be absorbed in the ranks of silence, whether to vanish into unopposed acquiescence or to enter a modest dissent. Faith in the word of America is the pulse beat of our democracy".[8]

In his later career, Kalb traveled as a lecturer and moderator. He was the founding anchor and a panelist on the weekly CNN program Reliable Sources from 1993 to 1998.[citation needed]

Awards and honorsEdit

Kalb won an Overseas Press Club Award for a 1968 documentary on the Vietcong.[citation needed]

Personal life and deathEdit

Kalb and his wife, Phyllis Bernstein, had four daughters. He turned 100 on February 4, 2022.[9]

On January 2, 2023, Kalb suffered a fall and died from his injuries six days later at his home in North Bethesda, Maryland. He was 100.[10][11]


  1. ^ Maisel, Louis Sandy; Forman, Ira N.; Altschiller, Donald; Bassett, Charles Walker (January 1, 2001). Jews in American Politics. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN 9780742501812 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Hevesi, Dennis (January 8, 2023). "Bernard Kalb, Veteran Foreign Correspondent, is Dead at 100". The New York Times.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Nomination of Bernard Kalb To Be an Assistant Secretary of State". Archived from the original on January 25, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  5. ^ "Bernard Kalb, a longtime foreign affairs newsman, has died at 100". NPR. January 8, 2023.
  6. ^ "BERNARD KALB NAMED TO POST AT STATE DEPT". The New York Times. November 29, 1984. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  7. ^ Demott, John S. (June 21, 2005). "Bernard Kalb's Modest Dissent". Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved May 2, 2018 – via
  8. ^[bare URL]
  9. ^ "Daily Kickoff". Jewish Insider. February 4, 2022. Retrieved February 5, 2022.
  10. ^ Hevesi, Dennis (January 8, 2023). "Bernard Kalb, Veteran Foreign Correspondent, Is Dead at 100". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  11. ^ Passantino, Jon (January 8, 2023). "Bernard Kalb, founding CNN 'Reliable Sources' anchor, dies at 100". CNN (published January 9, 2023).

External linksEdit

Government offices
Preceded by Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs
August 12, 1985 – October 8, 1986
Succeeded by