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I Liked Ike

I was sad to hear of the death of Ike Papas this week at age 75. The former CBS newsman wsa another part of the fabric of so many Boomer lives.

He was perhaps best know for his eyewitness radio report of the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, his breathless "Oswald Has Been Shot. Oswald Has Been Shot!" evoking the Hindenberg coverage and becoming almost as iconic.

Pappas was also a TV correspondent for CBS. He was at the scene of another tragedy, the Kent State shooting, and covered moon shots and shots fired in the Six Day War and strife in Lebanon.

Pappas made it home safely from war-torn venues, but was eventually a casualty of cost-cutting at the network in 1987. He went on to start his own production company.

I saw Pappas a few months back at the opening of the Newseum in Washington. I remember it vividly because I walked up to an exhibit with his picture and description on it detailing his coverage of the Oswald assassination, during which his live broadcast captured Oswalds last words as Ruby essentially brushed by Pappas to fire the fatal shot.

I almost didn’t notice the older gentleman in the wheel chair who was also looking up at the placard. But my wife did. She looked from the picture to the man and said: "That’s you?" Indeed it was, and he was delighted to have been recognized.

I was delighted that CBS’s Web site gave Pappas a lengthy obit this week.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.