Charles Lewis, a former Washington bureau chief for The Related Press and The Hearst Newspapers who tirelessly advocated for the discharge of AP journalist Terry Anderson from kidnappers in Lebanon died Saturday. He was 80.
Lewis, of Arlington, Virginia died at a hospital from issues from most cancers. He had been preventing a sequence of sicknesses the final a number of years, in accordance with his spouse, Vivian Chen.
Open and pleasant as a newsman, however robust and by the e-book in his personnel duties, Lewis was a journalist for 4 many years. He turned identified for his dedication to Anderson’s launch even when it meant strolling a fantastic line at occasions.
He had been AP’s bureau chief Washington for a 12 months when Anderson, the information group’s chief Center East correspondent, was kidnapped from the streets of Beirut in 1985 within the midst of the nation’s civil conflict, thrusting Lewis in the course of usually tense and delicate U.S. efforts to get Anderson launched.
As a part of an effort to assist Anderson and different Western hostages believed to be held in Lebanon, Lewis sought assist from the White Home which directed him to Lt. Col. Oliver North the White Home aide who was the purpose man on the hostage negotiations.
Lewis campaigned internationally with Anderson’s sister, Peggy Say, with AP assist to hunt Anderson’s freedom, together with a number of conferences with North.
That stirred complaints from two AP Washington reporters who later mentioned they felt Lewis held them again on their early reporting on North’s shadowy contacts with Nicaraguan contras. Anderson was lastly launched in 1991.
“It was sophisticated, due to the arms-for-hostages story,” mentioned Walter Mears on Sunday, who was government editor of the AP on the time. “He performed it the one approach he might.”
Lewis later got here to acknowledge that his handful of conferences with North because the reviews of the aide’s clandestine actions turned identified was ″a fairly furry expertise.″
″I by no means felt all that comfy,″ he instructed The New York Instances in 1990, after leaving the AP to turn into Hearst’s Washington bureau chief. ″I feel that the AP will look again on this era as one among nice inside frustration. It has been a balancing act, sporting completely different hats at completely different occasions, and I do know it lends itself to notion issues. Nonetheless, the underside line is that journalism didn’t endure one bit.″
Lewis was born in 1940 in Bozeman, Montana, and was a graduate of Loyola College in Chicago and Columbia Legislation College. In 1974, he had been on go away as an assistant metropolis editor with the Chicago Solar-Instances, learning Watergate and the impeachment course of within the nation’s capital, when his fellowship ended with President Richard Nixon nonetheless in workplace.
“I merely couldn’t return to Chicago with that concern unresolved,” he mentioned. So he utilized to the AP and was employed into the Washington bureau as a desk editor, earlier than changing into a supervisor.
He later served as an assistant chief of bureau in Los Angeles and a bureau chief in Hartford, Connecticut, in accordance with Mears. Lewis was appointed chief of bureau in Washington in 1984 and served in that place till 1989, earlier than returning to AP’s headquarters in New York to concentrate on authorized points.
In 1989, he turned chief of the Hearst Newspapers bureau in Washington and later served as senior editor there earlier than retiring in 2013.
“He cherished the AP and when he left there, it was at all times his remorse,” Chen mentioned Sunday. “He’s nonetheless the attractive man I fell in love with.”
Lewis is survived by Chen, alongside together with his sons and a daughter from a earlier marriage — Peter in Madison, Wisconsin, Patrick in Hollywood, California, and Barbara in Falls Church, Virginia — in addition to a stepdaughter, Rebecca, in New York, and several other grandchildren.