"In questioning public officials who owe an explanation to the public, I try to be equally vicious to all of them."
About This Interview
Of his career as a journalist, Sam Donaldson says, "I say to people, only half-facetiously, in questioning public officials who owe an explanation to the public, 'I try to be equally vicious to all of them.'" In his two-and-a-half hour Archive interview Donaldson talks about his tenure at WTOP-TV in Washington D.C. and his move to ABC News as a Washington news reporter. He discusses his coverage of Vietnam where he served as a war correspondent in 1971. He recalls his experiences as ABC's Capitol Hill Correspondent during the Nixon era, punctuated by the Watergate scandal. He discusses his coverage of Jimmy Carter's campaign and his tenure as White House Correspondent during the Carter Administration. He talks about the impact of the Iran Hostage Crisis on the Carter presidency and the release of the hostages timed to coincide with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. He talks about covering the Reagan presidency including the assassination attempt that he witnessed first-hand. He discusses his appearance as a regular on This Week with David Brinkley and its subsequent incarnation as This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts. He speaks about the creation of Primetime Live, in which he served as co-anchor with Diane Sawyer. Finally, he discusses working with such colleagues as Peter Jennings and Helen Thomas. Karen Herman conducted the interview on September 14, 2005 in New York City.