The tributes to "60 Minutes" correspondent Ed Bradley
are praising him as a pioneer, a first-rate journalist, a terrific guy. I can't speak to any of that, since I only knew Bradley the way millions of others did -- as a person on TV.
But oh, did he have an impact. Something about a Bradley interview lasted long after that night's "60 Minutes" ended.
I can still see Bradley's interview with Paul Simon, a conversation so intimate it was almost hard to watch. (Almost
-- Bradley's humor and compassion always shone through.) Or his talk with Bob Dylan
, unfazed by Dylan's feints and weaves. Or Lena Horne: What zest!
The thing about Bradley -- especially when talking to a musician -- was he didn't try to hide his love of the job. You could see it in the twinkle of his eye (and the gleam of his earring).
He also couldn't hide his basic decency behind a mask of journalistic dispassion. He pitched in during a rescue of the Vietnamese boat people. Narrating the event later, he was matter-of-fact about participating: "We did too," he said.