NEW YORK (AP) — Jim Lehrer, longtime host of the nightly PBS “NewsHour” whose serious, sober demeanor made him the choice to moderate 11 presidential debates between 1988 and 2012, has died, PBS said Thursday.
“We both believed the American people were not as stupid as some of the folks publishing and programming for them believed,” Lehrer wrote in his 1992 memoir, “A Bus of My Own.”
The two had already made names for themselves at the then-fledgling network through their work with the National Public Affairs Center for Television and its coverage of the Watergate hearings in 1973.
The nightly news broadcast, later retitled the “MacNeil-Lehrer Report,” became the nation’s first one-hour TV news broadcast in 1983 and was then known as the “MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour.” After MacNeil bowed out in 1995, it became “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.”
He also anchored PBS coverage of inaugurations and conventions, dismissing criticism from other TV news organizations that the latter had become too scripted to yield much in the way of real news.