Deakin was born in St. Louis and received his degree from Washington University. In 1951, he joined the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and worked as a white house correspondent. In 1954, he was appointed to the Washington Bureau during the Eisenhower administration. Deakin studied and reported the administrations of John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. From 1958–1980, Deakin covered the White House. In 1981, he retired from The Post-Dispatch and ended up teaching courses in journalism at George Washington University until 1987.
He wrote a critical report about lobbying and Lyndon B. Johnson entitled "Lyndon Johnson's Credibility Gap." He was also critical of the Nixon Administration, which landed him on the master list of Nixon political opponents. One of his most well-known book was "Straight Stuff: The Reporters, The White House and the Truth".
Deakin was married to his wife Doris and together they had a son named David, and two grandsons.
- "James Deakin -- Reporter, 77 - Obituary (Obit); Biography". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
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